Researchers at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) have kick-started two research projects to help better understand the rate and prevalence of COVID-19 in children.
Two projects will test for evidence of COVID-19 in children not showing symptoms – given symptoms and disease of children tend to be milder than in adults, meaning infection can easily be missed.
One of these research projects aims to determine the prevalence of infection of SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 in children and the role they play in the community transmission of the disease.
PCH infectious disease specialists will work with PathWest and Clinipath to conduct the research, with testing to take place between June and December 2020 covering the peak winter season.
Using blood samples taken as part of routine testing, a selection of random samples will be tested to see whether antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are present. If present, this will provide evidence that the child was previously infected with COVID-19, and data from this study will have implications for the management and delivery of paediatric health in Western Australia.
The second research project, undertaken with Telethon Kids Institute, will screen patients ahead of their ear, nose or throat surgery at PCH over a nine-month period, with an anticipated 300 children due to be screened.
This research will complement the McGowan Government’s DETECT schools project which is currently scanning the WA school community for possible undetected COVID-19 cases.