UKE examines COVID-19 infections in children

C19.CHILD examines coronavirus in 6,000 children and youths
14 May 2020
University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf

The University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE) has launched the C19.CHILD Hamburg study to examine the severity and frequency of the coronavirus in children and youths, a press release said Wednesday (May 13, 2020). The results should enable more targeted treatment and preventive measures. The study is based on data from healthy and chronically ill children and youths with and without symptoms of COVID-19 infection in both inpatient and outpatient care. All other children's hospitals in Hamburg are taking part in the study.

First part of study underway 

Led by Prof. Dr. Ania C. Muntau, Director of the UKE's Clinic and Polyclinic for Children and Youth Medicine, the study began investigating possible COVID diseases and immunization in youths in late April. Children aged 0 to 18 years are examined by means of a throat swab and an antibody test. "During the study, we will investigate how often children and youths are infected and how susceptible they are to COVID-19 infection or to a severe course of it. At the same time, we want to investigate how high the risk of spreading the novel corona virus through asymptomatic children is and whether chronically ill children have a higher risk of a severe course of COVID-19 infection than healthy children," said Muntau.

Researching long-term consequences

Data on the frequency of COVID-19 infections in youths will be collected over a six-week period initially. Data from children, who have not contracted COVID-19, will be compared with data from risk groups. Children who test positive will be monitored over a six-month period in the second part of the study. The focus is on identifying the repercussions of the virus for the immune system and biochemistry of chronically ill children and risk groups. The project is funded by donations from the Michael Otto Foundation, the Michael Stich Foundation, the Stiftung Kinder Herz, the Dr. Melitta Berkemann Foundation, the Fördergemeinschaft Kinderkrebs-Zentrum Hamburg, the Eagles Charity Golf Club, Nutricia GmbH as well as from the HSV and the people citizens of Hamburg. It is backed by the Hamburg-based biotech company Altona Diagnostics.