High rate of COVID-19 antibodies found in children, study shows

A study out of Northern Virginia shows children had a surprisingly high rate of COVID-19 antibodies.

Inova Health System partnered with Virginia Department of Health and George Mason University to look at the rate of COVID-19 in children. It was done in the Fall.

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"We had estimated that maybe one percent of kids would have antibodies around that time," said Dr. Rebecca Levorson, Division Director for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Inova Children’s Hospital. "But we actually found 8.5 percent of children had antibodies and we looked at over a thousand kids."

Levorson said that’s about double the rate found in Virginia adults in a similar study.

What was most outstanding is that 66 percent of those children with antibodies never had COVID-19 symptoms.

Levorson said a commonality in the group is they were around a family member or another direct contact who had the virus.

The study serves as a reminder, especially as students return to school, that many children who have contracted the virus have no symptoms and can unknowingly spread it to others.

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"That’s where it goes back to, if there’s someone who you’re around who has COVID and you’re exposed to them, you need to do your due diligence and quarantine," said Levorson.

The study also found that Hispanic children were far more likely to have antibodies for the virus, at a rate three times higher than White participants and fives times higher than Black and Asian participants.

"It’s another moment of truth that, hey, this community really needs strong support," said Luis Aguilar, Virginia director for CASA. "We should be focusing heavily in the Latino community. We should be having multilingual campaigns in Spanish and I haven’t even seen that."

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