Categorized | USA, Health

NIH Seeks to Identify Children at Risk for Severe Complication of COVID-19

By Carol Duff, MSN, BA, RN 

Health Editor’s Note: It was no sooner announced, months ago, that children, when they contract COVID-19 do not get as ill as adults.  This was drastically disproved when children started to develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) which is a very severe complication of COVID-19.

Children with MIS-C develop inflammation of the lungs, kidneys, brain, heart, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.  Symptoms of MIC-C are fever with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rash, neck pain, conjunctivitis (blood shot eyes), abdominal pain and feeling very tired.  The cause is not known other than children who developed MIC-C also had the COVID-19 virus or had been exposed to someone who had COVID-19.

Not all children who develop MIS-C have the same symptoms. Reasons for a child to be seen immediately by health care professionals is difficulty in breathing, constant pressure or pain in the chest, appearing to be confused, unable to stay awake or to wake up, severe abdominal pain, and/or bluish color of face and/or lips.  

MIS-C is a new medical phenomenon, as is COVID-19, and needs to be researched and  studied to see how this COVID-19 complication affects children and why some children go on to have MIS-C after being infected with COVID-19 and others do not. The best scenario would be to protect children against developing MIS-C

Medical science is still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children, so it is not predictable to determine which child will get sick with MIS-C and which child will not develop this severe complication. It is  also do not know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C. These are among the many questions researchers are working to try to understand……Carol

NIH-funded project seeks to identify children at risk for MIS-C

NIH News Release

The National Institutes of Health has announced research funding to encourage the development of approaches that identify children at high risk for developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), thought to be a severe complication of COVID-19. Up to $20 million will be awarded to successful research proposals over four years.

Most children exposed to or infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop only a mild form of the illness. However, others go on to develop MIS-C(link is external), a severe, sometimes fatal, inflammation of organs and tissues, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin and eyes. The new effort seeks to encourage studies of genetic, immune, viral, environmental, and other factors that influence how severe a case of COVID-19 will be and the chances of developing to MIS-C.

“We urgently need methods to distinguish children at high risk for MIS-C from those unlikely to experience major ill effects from the virus, so that we can develop early interventions to improve their outcomes, ” said Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The NICHD-led project, called Predicting Viral-Associated Inflammatory Disease Severity in Children with Laboratory Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence (PreVAIL kIds), is part of NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. PreVAIL kIds aims to encourage development of cutting-edge approaches for understanding the underlying factors influencing the spectrum of conditions that may occur in children and youth infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These range from no symptoms at all to fever and cough, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and inflammation of the coronary arteries. The goal of the initiative is to understand the range of symptoms of COVID-19 and the factors leading to MIS-C.

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