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Are children spreaders of the disease?

During the pandemic, it has been shown that children are diagnosed less often with COVID-19, in addition to usually having a milder form of the disease. Still, it cannot be ruled out that children have the same ability as adults to become infected and to infect.

No study to date has shown whether and to what degree children are able to transmit the disease at the school level, a key question with great educational and social implications.

To answer this question, the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital has launched a large study in summer camps where epidemiological surveys and samples of the children who attend and their monitors will be collected. The study will evaluate the infectivity and transmission of the virus among the child population and will be conducted from the last week of June until early August in summer camps in the Barcelona area.

summer camps study about COVID-19

This study is part of the Kids Corona platform, which aims to answer these fundamental questions that still remain unanswered.

Do children transmit COVID-19 in the same way as adults do?

With the information currently available, it is very difficult to answer this question. At the start of the pandemic, children were confined at home to protect them, as they are considered a vulnerable group. This meant that there were no data available on the transmissibility of the virus in children.

This and other similar questions still remain unresolved and are generating scientific debate, so it is necessary to carry out studies such as those included in the Kids Corona platform, which will allow us to provide answers.

How do we study whether children transmit COVID-19 in the same way as adults do?

To answer this question, we have designed various projects that start out with children infected with COVID-19 and study those with whom they regularly have or have had contact. This will allow research into the manner in which children transmit the infection as well as into the extent they infect and become infected.

The most ambitious study to answer this question is that of summer camps, which will periodically and systematically look at the proportion in which children have and transmit COVID-19. The study is in preparation, but its effective performance is conditional on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general population, as if it is extremely low, the feasibility of carrying out the study at this time could be compromised.

This substantial project will be complemented by the case study of children with a positive PCR test result and their contacts, both those treated at the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital and those who contact the hospital after receiving a positive PCR result.

The results of these studies will provide key information to know to what extent children can become infected and spread COVID-19. These data will be essential to help decide the best strategies to continue the educational and social life of children, which will also have a direct impact on adults.