Children under five years of age with mild to moderate Covid-19 have much higher levels of the novel coronavirus genetic material in the nose compared to older children and adults, finds a new study. The findings, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, shed light on the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups.
As per the researchers, younger children's ability to spread Covid-19 may have been under-recognised given the rapid and sustained closure of schools and daycare centres during the pandemic. They compared the quantity of virus genetic material found in three age groups -- children younger than five years, children five to 17 years, and adults 18-65 years. The researchers, however, cautioned that the study is limited to detection of viral genetic material -- its nucleic acid molecule RNA -- rather than the infectious virus.