Some children have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and virus at the same time
Researchers detected anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in the blood samples of some pediatric patients prior to viral clearance, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
“What we have found is something different than other viruses. In patients with COVID-19, for a brief period of time, there are antibodies and the virus at the same time,” Burak Bahar, MD, director of laboratory informatics at Children’s National Hospital, told Healio.
“This is important information because people think that, ‘OK, I have the antibodies. I won't spread the disease,’” Bahar said. “There is a slim chance that patients who have the antibodies might also carry the disease and spread to others. So, we should continue our practices. Wearing masks, social distancing and personal hygiene and washing are very important.”
Bahar and colleagues retrospectively analyzed results from 6,369 patients who underwent PCR testing and 215 who underwent antibody testing during a 100-day period between March and June. There were 641 positive tests. Of the positive tests, 68 patients had more than one molecular test.
Bahar and colleagues found that the median duration of viral shedding was 19.5 days (interquartile range = 12 to 39 days). In 10 patients, it was longer than 30 days, with a maximum of 62 days.
Although investigators found no overall difference in the timelines for female (median = 26 days) vs. male (median = 25 days) patients, they reported differences between age groups.
“Overall, we had seen some differences in some age subcategories, so they might have clinical importance in taking care of pediatric patients with COVID-19,” Bahar said.
Patients aged 6 to 15 years took longer to test negative via RT-PCR (median = 32 days), whereas patients aged 16 to 22 years achieved negativity after 18 days. Those aged 0 to 5 years had a median time of 22 days to achieve negativity.
Out of the 215 patients who underwent antibody testing, 33 were tested for both the virus and antibodies, and nine showed the presence of antibodies while testing positive for the virus later.