Dr. Jesse Papenburg, one of the CITF’s scientific advisors, collaborated with researchers from 15 paediatric hospitals in Canada, Iran, and Costa Rica to collect information on symptomatic and asymptomatic children up to 17 years old who had a laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and who were admitted to hospital.

Of the 211 cases included in the study, 49% had a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 at admission, while 51% were admitted with another diagnosis. It is also important to note that 4% of the patients in this study acquired SARS-CoV-2 while hospitalized and 33% of all patients required ICU admission due to COVID-19.

The authors of this study highlight the importance of identifying risk factors for severe disease in hospitalized children, particularly as novel early therapies become available. In their analysis, they found the following risk factors for severity: babies at or under 30 days old, hospitalization outside of Canada, the presence of at least one comorbidity, and chest imaging abnormalities compatible with COVID-19.

Given the findings of this study, in which over half of patients with COVID-19 were admitted with another diagnosis, clinicians must consider the diagnosis of community-acquired or healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 infection in all admitted children.

The CITF is advancing knowledge on COVID-19 in children by funding a range of studies, including: EnCORE, TARGet kids!, CHILD Cohort, and SPRING. For more information on these studies visit our webpage at www.covid19immunitytaskforce.ca/

Barton M, Papenburg J, Ulloa-Gutierrez R, Brenes-Chacon H, Yock-Corrales A, Ivankovich-Escoto G, Soriano-Fallas A, Mezerville MH, Bitnun A, Morris SK, El Tal T,  Yeh EA, Gill P, Laxer R, Nateghian A, Aski BH, Manafif A, Lefebvre M-A, Caya C, Cooke  S, Dewan T, Restivo L, Viel-Thériault I, Trajtman A, Dwilow R, Bullard J, Sadarangani M, Roberts A, Le Saux N, Bowes J, Wong JK, Purewal R, Lautermilch J, Leifso K, Foo C, Newhook LA, Bayliss A, Petel D, Robinson J on behalf of the Paediatric Investigators Collaborative Network on Infections in Canada (PICNIC). Multicenter cohort study of children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 infection. MedRxiv. Feb 23. doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.19.21251340