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Higher Than Expected COVID-19 Antibody Rates in Children in Northern Virginia

March 19, 2021 | By Rachel Miller

Last July to October, Pediatric Specialists of Virginia’s (PSV) Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, Rebecca Levorson, MD, Suchitra Hourigan, MD, and fellow Inova Children’s Hospital researchers partnered with the Virginia Department of Health and George Mason University to conduct a COVID-19 serology antibody study to analyze the incidence of COVID-19 in children in Northern Virginia.

The analysis of blood samples from more than 1,000 children, ages 0 to 19 found that the overall antibody positivity rate in children was 8.5 percent (88/1038). COVID-19 antibodies were found in 8.2 percent of white children, 5.3% of black children, 5.7% of Asian children, and 16.2% of children with multiple racial origins. Children identified as Hispanic ethnicity had a 26.6% rate of antibody positivity.  When compared by age groups, the rate was 13.7% in young children (0-5 years), 7.5% in school-age (6-10 years), 5.1% in early adolescents (11-15 years) and 10.8% in older adolescents (16-19 years).

When compared to an adult serology study in Virginia, which reported a COVID-19 antibody positivity rate of 4.4%, the pediatric rate of positivity is nearly double. The majority (66%) of children who had antibodies had no history of symptoms of COVID-19 infection, which highlights the silent or asymptomatic infection in children, and subsequent risk of transmission of infection to others.

To view Inova Newsroom’s full story, please click here. This study has also been featured on Fox 5 DC and WTOP News.  

More information about this pediatric serology study, and its finding, can be found at the MedRxiv here.