B.C. researchers to study how COVID-19 has spread in young people

BC Children’s Hospital is leading a research project to better understand how children and young adults in the province have been infected with COVID-19.

The federal government’s COVID-19 immunity task force is working alongside hospital researchers to find out how many people up to 24 years old in B.C. have already been infected with the virus and how the infection rate in this age group changes over the next year.

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“So far, we have little information on COVID-19 in children because there have been relatively few cases,” said Dr. Manish Sadarangani, lead researcher and director of the hospital’s Vaccine Evaluation Center, in a news release on Tuesday.

“Some studies suggest infection rates in children are actually the same as in adults (and that) children simply often having no symptoms. But other studies suggest fewer children get COVID-19. Our study aims to get a better estimate of a true infection rate by including information from children with asymptomatic infection.”

The study is actively recruiting participants in that age range from anywhere in B.C.

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Participation requires a consent form, an online questionnaire, and a home finger-prick blood test, and will learn directly or via a parent or guardian if they have antibodies to the virus, although that does not guarantee immunity.

A similar study began six weeks ago in Montreal.

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“Children often have more social interactions per day than most adults, certainly when schools are open,” said Tim Evans, who directs the federal task force.

“This study will also look at infection rates among university-aged people — a group which has seen a significant increase in cases in the past three months in certain provinces. These results will be important when it comes to university campus re-openings.”


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