Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it was believed that three distinct groups were the most at risk for virus-related complications: older adults over the age of sixty-five, individuals with underlying health conditions, and young children.
But, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington has found that infants whose mothers are infected with COVID-19 actually often develop symptoms that are less severe than their parents– and that is if the infants even become infected at all.
This research represents one of the first studies to specifically analyze how COVID-19 impacts older infants.
“The focus on infants early in the pandemic was about possible transmission risks during pregnancy, birth, or through nursing, but there were other questions about the risks in the household to infants and other children when caregivers are sick,” explained Melanie Martin, the study’s first author.
So, Martin and her team asked themselves– how severely are infants at risk for infection, and how can caregivers protect children when they are sick?
The study included forty-six pairs of mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 and their infants.
The researchers combed through surveys and analyzed the antibody results of each pair for two months after the mothers were infected with the virus.
Each infant was at least one month old, and the COVID-positive mothers were immediately enrolled in the study within mere days or hours of receiving their positive infection results.
The team also studied a comparative group of eleven mothers who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as a control group consisting of twenty-six mothers who had no known exposure to COVID-19 or virus symptoms.