Children deal with Covid-19 better than adults, scientists believe
Children may escape the worst ravages of Covid-19 because their immune systems are used to coronaviruses from battling the common cold, scientists believe
- The common cold is made up of four harmless coronaviruses, say scientists
- Children normally get around 12 colds a year, while adults get two to four
- This means children’s T-cells are better prepared to fighting coronaviruses
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Children are better protected against coronavirus as their bodies are used to getting multiple colds, according to scientists.
The common cold is caused by four harmless coronaviruses, with adults averaging between two to four colds a year.
But children are believed to attract up to 12 colds a year, with scientists saying that youngsters possess resistance to the virus that adults lack.
Children’s bodies are better prepared to fight the coronavirus than adults due to the number of colds per year youngster receive, according to scientists
Children can get up to 12 colds a year, which is significantly more than adults, who get between two and four per year
Professor Sir John Bell of Oxford University told the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Commitee: ‘How you respond may be due to the state of your existing immunity coronaviruses generally.
‘There is an interesting speculation at the moment, that many people in young or middle age groups may have T-cells that can already see coronaviruses.
‘It may well be able to provide some protection against this pathogen when it arrives.’
Professor Adrian Hayday added: ‘All adults past a certain age – 30 to 35 – eventually have no thymus so their T-cells work by looking at whether they have seen something before, whereas children are very good at seeing things that are unknown.
‘The issue may be that children are able to see this as something fresh.’
Coronaviruses are thought to cause up to 30 per cent of all colds but it is not known specifically how many are caused by the betacoronavirus types, which also cause severe chest infections in the oldest and youngest patients.
And research done this week by immunology experts show that immunity to coronavirus could last up to 17 years.
Professor Bell also confirmed that 70 per cent of people who get the coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning they do not feel the symptoms.