The nose defends children from Covid, but less effective with omicron – Medicine

(ANSA) – ROME, AUGUST 04 – The inner lining of the nose of children is more effective than that of adults in defending against Sars-CoV-2 infections and this could be one of the reasons why children have a high rate of infection from Covid-19 lower and milder symptoms. But this advantage “may change as the virus evolves.” To find out a research published in the scientific journal PLOS Biology.
The research team from the University of Queensland, Australia exposed cell samples from the nasal lining (epithelium) of 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults to SARS-CoV-2. The results showed that the Delta variant of the virus replicated less efficiently in the children’s nasal cells. But “this trend was significantly less pronounced in the case of Omicron. And, in terms of viral RNA, Omicron replicated better in pediatric nasal epithelial cells than both the Delta and the ancestral virus,” the researchers write.
The reasons for the better response in children, “could be an adaptation to the growing threats of foreign invaders, such as viruses or bacteria seen in childhood,” said Kirsty Short of the University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences. “It is also possible that increased exposure to these threats in childhood” trains “the nasal lining in children to create a stronger pro-inflammatory response. Or alternatively, metabolic differences between children and adults could alter how genes that fight viruses are expressed “.
Future clinical trials will be needed, he concludes, “to validate these preliminary results in a larger population and to determine the possible role of other factors.”