Scientists identify the probable cause of liver disease in mysterious children

Scientists identify the probable cause of liver disease in mysterious children

New research suggests that lack of exposure to two common viruses during the Covid-19 pandemic may have increased the chances of children becoming seriously ill with acute hepatitis.

Two research groups said the blocking restrictions may have caused some children to lose early immunity to both adenovirus and the newly linked adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2).

Crucially, both teams said they found no evidence of a direct link between the spike in hepatitis cases and infection with SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.

Scientists in the UK say they have identified the probable cause of a recent outbreak of a mysterious liver disease affecting young children around the world.

New research suggests that lack of exposure to two common viruses during the Covid-19 pandemic may have increased the chances of children becoming seriously ill with acute hepatitis. In studies published Tuesday, two research groups from University College London and the University of Glasgow said the blocking restrictions may have caused some children to lack early immunity to both adenovirus and adeno-associated virus. 2 (AAV2) just connected.

Crucially, both teams said they found no evidence of a direct link between the spike in hepatitis cases and infection with SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.

Virus coinfection

Since the first case was reported in January, more than 1,000 children in 35 countries have developed an unidentified type of severe acute hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver.

Most of the cases involved children aged five years or younger, although diagnoses were made in children up to 16 years of age.

It was previously believed that adenovirus, which typically causes a mild cold or flu-like illness, was partly responsible for the mysterious outbreak, as it was the most common virus in samples from affected children.

However, the new study indicated that adeno-associated virus 2, which does not normally cause disease and cannot replicate without a "helper" virus such as adenovirus or herpes virus, was present in 96% of hepatitis cases. unknown identified in both studies. examined.

Solved a mystery?

Researchers now say co-infection with the two viruses - AAV2 and an adenovirus, or less commonly the herpes virus HHV6 - could provide the best explanation for the recent outbreak.

"While we still have some unanswered questions about what exactly led to this acute hepatitis spike, we hope these findings will reassure parents concerned about Covid-19 as neither team has a direct link to SARS infection. -CoV.-2 ", Professor Judith Breuer, UCL CIS Institute of Child Health, in the report.

The findings add to theories of some health experts that Covid blockades have reduced public immunity to a number of common diseases. The researchers added that there was no link to coronavirus vaccines.

The two studies were carried out independently and simultaneously on British samples. Dr Sofia Morfopoulou, a professor at UCL's GOS Institute for Child Health, said more research was now needed to compare her findings with cases of acute hepatitis found in other countries.

“International collaborations to further and elucidate the role of AAV2 and co-infecting viruses in pediatric unexplained hepatitis in patients from different countries are now needed,” she said.

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