Study reveals why many children avoided serious COVID-19 illness

Nasal passages hold the key to immune protection for those ages 1 month to 4 years old

November 01, 2023
uci health pediatrician behnoosh afghani wearing a white coat and instructing medical students in a lab

UCI Health pediatrician Dr. Behnoosh Afghani is a pediatric
infectious diseases expert and a professor in the Department
of Pediatrics at the UCI School of Medicine.

IN THE NEWS: One question about the COVID-19 pandemic has been left largely unanswered, until now: Why did most children who contracted the coronavirus not suffer serious and long-lasting effects?

YahooLifelogo120A new study of 81 babies and children ages 1 month to 4 years old fought the virus as it moves through their nasal passages, before it begins to move to the rest of the body. Dr. Behnoosh Afghani, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UCI Health, spoke to Yahoo Life about the study, with which she was not involved.

“The mucosal antibody response detected in the nasal mucosa of children was not present in adults. Unlike children, the immune response in the blood of infected adults was mostly composed of inflammatory cytokines which explains the more severe illness in adults.”

Afghani is a clinical professor of pediatrics and chief of the Hospitalist Division in the Department of Pediatrics at UCI School of Medicine. She has been named a Physician of Excellence since 2007 by the Orange County Medical Association. Her additional clinical interests include hospital medicine, pediatric infections and vaccinations. She is the author or co-author of dozens of research abstracts, publications and book chapters.

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