Further research on MIS-C can provide insights on how COVID-19 affects immune system, says GlobalData

Some children have developed a severe inflammatory response due to COVID-19 infection that appears similar to Kawasaki disease. Doctors are referring to this response as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Although severe COVID-19 illness is less frequent in children, with about 3% of confirmed cases in the US in ages 0–17 years, it is still significant. Further research into MIS-C could provide insights on how COVID-19 affects the immune system and how it can be treated, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData, comments: “As our understanding of COVID-19 grows, and as patients continue to recover, more additional long-term complications and rare effects on various demographics could emerge.  As a result, it will be a while before we gain a full understanding of the medical impacts of this disease.

“This pediatric syndrome has been tied to the COVID-19 because most cases either tested positive at the time their symptoms developed or had a positive antibody test. While this new syndrome has similarities to Kawasaki disease, an observational study from Italy and a review of cases in New York City, US has highlighted differences between the two diseases.”

Kawasaki disease can have long-term cardiovascular complications. Future longitudinal studies will have to be conducted to determine if MIS-C patients will have similar issues.

To date, there have been 157 suspected cases of pediatric MIS-C reported in New York State, and approximately 230 combined suspected cases in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, among others.

Menjivar concludes: “Even though a small proportion of confirmed cases of COVID-19 occur in the population under the age of 18 years and pediatric MIS-C appears to be a rare complication, studies such as the one carried out in Italy can provide valuable insight. Observational studies can shed light on the immune response that COVID-19 triggers in children and promote data collection efforts, which can lead to a better understanding of how the virus works and possible treatment options.”

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