A team of researchers has found that children may not be as infectious in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, to other people as previously thought.
According to the researchers, including Jared Bullard from the University of Manitoba in Canada, the findings have important public health and clinical implications.
"If younger children are less capable of transmitting infectious virus, daycare, in-person school and cautious extracurricular activities may be safe to continue, with appropriate precautions in place, and with lower risk to childcare staff, educators and support staff than initially anticipated," said Bullard.
For the study published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), a team of 14 researchers analysed samples from 175 children and 130 adults in Manitoba infected with SARS-CoV-2 to see if there was a difference in infectiousness.
Using cell cultures of nasopharyngeal swabs, they investigated viral loads in both groups to determine if children were more infectious. "As an increasing number of jurisdictions consider whether in-school learning, daycares and extracurricular activities should continue or resume, a better understanding of the relative contributions of children and adolescents to SARS-CoV-2 transmission, when compared with adults is essential," the reseasecher said.
"This is particularly important given the increased likelihood of asymptomatic infection in this group," they added.