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Interviewer: Professor Permar,
thank you for
sparing the time today to
do this interview with us.
Today we shall cover the current knowledge
on why children seem less susceptible to
the new coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2,
and the implications this has
on future treatments for older individuals
and the development of a vaccine.
To start, what is the current knowledge or
speculation regarding why children
are less affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
Interviewer: It's a really interesting
phenomenon that we see playing out with
this epidemic, generally when we think
of respiratory viral infections,
they're often high-risk populations
at both ends of the age spectrum.
We can have severe diseases in the young,
especially in infants and
newborns, something like
respiratory syncytial virus we know
is one of the main reasons that
an infant will be hospitalized.
And then viruses are seen to cause more
severe disease in older ages as well.
In this pandemic we're seeing
much more of a propensity for
the older age groups to
have severe disease, and
not very much severe disease
occurring in younger age groups.
That's unusual and
potentially unexpected, but
it gives us an opportunity to
study why children are being
reported with fewer cases of
severe disease than adults, and
trying to understand how their response
to an infection may be different and
more beneficial in
containing the infection,
rather than going on to severe disease.