1. Novel coronavirus (nCoV) enters the body by binding to ACE2 which is found in the cells of the lungs, intestine, heart and kidneys between the nose and throat. With age, the presence of ACE2 increases in the area between the throat and nose and the inner part of the lung wall, and due to this, it is able to carry more and more nCoV inside the body. This is the reason that the risk of infection is less in younger people. According to animal studies, ACE2 protects against nCoV associated with lung damage. When nCoV reaches the cell through ACE2, the size of ACE2 is reduced and its protective ability is also reduced, due to which it is easier to infect the body.
2. The inner lining of blood vessels called endothelium, and the mechanism of blood clotting in children is different from that of adults, due to which they are less likely to have heart attacks or strokes.
3. In most people, these antibodies against the common corona virus are produced in early childhood. These antibodies already present in the body help the new species of corona virus to enter the cells and make adults more vulnerable to this virus, due to which more infection spreads in them. This is called antibody dependency enhancement (ADE). Children with Kovid-19 have less ADE than adults.
4. Aging is associated with a decrease in the innate and adaptive immunity in the body and due to this the body becomes weak in fighting against the virus. Then, this innate and adapted immunity is stronger in children, due to which their body is less prone to infection.
5. Other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, COPD etc. are less in the body of children. Due to these diseases, Kovid infection is more in adults.
6. Vitamin D deficiency is also a reason. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties and its deficiency is more common in adults than in children.
7. Children’s respiratory tract and intestines have more microbes such as bacteria and viruses, etc. than adults, which fight against the corona virus in the cells more strongly and do not allow them to enter the cells.
8. A hormone called melatonin, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, is found in high amounts in children and decreases with age, due to which the effect of corona infection in children is minor.
9. Compared to adults, the effectiveness of BCG and other vaccines given to children is present and due to this also the risk of infection in them is reduced.
10. Children have less nosocomial exposure to work, travel, and shopping than adults. If you go out a lot, you will get more infections. (is the most acceptable reason in my opinion)
How can we protect our children from nCoV infection?
Like we adults protect ourselves. Distance from the body, wearing a clean mask that completely covers your nose and mouth, maintaining hygiene, not going to crowded places, and getting vaccinated. If more and more young and adult people get vaccinated, then there will be less infection in children. Then, now there are vaccines for children over the age of two. (Dr. Niket Rai is MBBS & MD and affiliated to Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi.)