A study to help determine the rate of novel coronavirus infection in children and their family members in the United States has begun enrolling participants.
A study to help determine the rate of novel coronavirus infection in children and their family members in the United States has begun enrolling participants. The study, called Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS), also will help determine what percentage of children infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop symptoms of the disease. In addition, the HEROS study will examine whether rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection differ between children who have asthma or other allergic conditions and children who do not. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring and funding the HEROS study.
“One interesting feature of this novel coronavirus pandemic is that very few children have become sick with COVID-19 compared to adults,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “Is this because children are resistant to infection with SARS-CoV-2, or because they are infected but do not develop symptoms? The HEROS study will help us begin to answer these and other key questions.”
The HEROS study team will rapidly enroll 6,000 people from 2,000 U.S. families already participating in NIH-funded pediatric research studies in 11 cities. Study participants will include both healthy children and children with asthma or other allergic conditions. The study team will prospectively follow these children and their families for six months to determine who gets infected with SARS-CoV-2, whether the virus is transmitted to other family members, and which family members with the virus develop COVID-19.
Image: Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles isolated from a patient. (Credit: NIAID)