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Why is Covid-19 less risky and less severe in children than adults?

Biology/Immunity Families

A: The SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19 gets into your body using a protein door on your cells called ACE2. Children have less ACE2 than adults so the virus has a harder time getting into children’s bodies than adult bodies.

There are other reasons why children are more protected than adults. Older adults can have more risk factors that make COVID-19 more severe. Heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all diseases that older adults get that make COVID-19 more severe.

Children may also have previously had other coronaviruses which do not cause COVID-19. These other coronaviruses may have helped to build the immune system to fight against the coronavirus that does cause COVID-19. But any immune protection from these everyday coronaviruses does not last very long and fades over time.

Scientists are still trying to understand COVID-19 in children. There is a large study called HEROS that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is running to understand risk factors for COVID-19 infection in children. Stay tuned! We scientists ask questions and do the experiments to find answers…to ask more questions!

Thank you science loving 8-year old from NC for this question! Hopefully those nerdy girls were able to give you an answer you can understand and tell your friends! Be like a scientist and keep asking questions!

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