Biomarkers of serious condition that can affect children with COVID-19 identified by researchers, offering hope for new treatment

Research into a rare but serious condition seen in some children who contract COVID-19 has led to the identification of the condition’s biomarkers, which could play a key role in the development of new treatment.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own organs, and it can be deadly.

In America, 37 MIS-C deaths have been reported but a breakthrough in research into the condition could offer some hope.

A team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in America have identified a distinctive pattern of biomarkers which are produced in children with MIS-C. This could help doctors to predict how severe the illness could be and pave the way for new treatments.

MIS-C can occur weeks after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and more than 4,000 cases have been reported in the US. The median age of children was nine-years-old and more than 60 per cent of cases occurred in Black or Latin American children.

Co-senior author Dr Moshe Arditi, director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division at Cedars-Sinai, said: “It is crucial to improve our understanding of MIS-C in the current environment, given reports of rising rates of children being hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. and the return of many students to school for the fall term.

“The disproportionate impact of MIS-C related to race and ethnicity is especially troubling.”

Symptoms of MIS-C can include persistent fever and gastrointestinal, respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular problems.

The research team, which examined 69 children, said future studies involving larger numbers are required to support the findings.

The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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