Children face an ‘extremely low’ one in 500,000 risk of dying from coronavirus, researchers have found.
In England, only 25 under the age of 18 have died of Covid, which equates to about two out of a million, experts said.
Young people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, and severe disabilities, which may include cerebral palsy and autism, have a greater chance of becoming seriously ill from the virus.
But researchers – from three top UK universities – said this risk is no higher than the risk from the flu.
Teenagers, blacks, and obese children were also at higher risk of dying with Covid, but those numbers were still very low, they found.
Researchers said their findings ̵
They will submit the studies to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The results come in the middle of a series on whether No10 should expand vaccine rollout for young people.
JCVI and SAGE advisers have previously expressed concern about giving jabs to children until more safety data was available.
Researchers have found that children have a two to one million risk of dying from Covid. England still have to decide whether the vaccine should be rolled out to under 18s
How sick you get with Covid could be written in your genes: Researchers find 13 DNA variations that increase the risk of being hospitalized and initially catching the virus
Your risk of being hospitalized with Covid or catching it in the first place may be written in your genes, researchers say.
Researchers have found nine DNA sequences that appear to increase the risk of being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus.
And they think they’ve seen four that can make people more susceptible to being infected.
Experts say their discovery ‘partially explains’ why some Covid patients become so ill while others escape unscathed.
And the team – made up of academics from around the world – believes it could help identify genetic treatments for the virus.
DNA samples from nearly 50,000 Covid patients were analyzed for the study, which was published in the journal Nature.
Their genetic information was compared with the same details in 2 million healthy volunteers.
Data were obtained from a number of studies, many of which relied on information from companies selling genetic tests such as 23andMe.
Genetic testing identifies mutations that can cause health problems and is commonly used to test for diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
It works by taking a sample of blood, saliva or body tissue, which is analyzed in a laboratory.
All have the 13 Covid gene regions identified by the research team, which involved teams from Edinburgh University, Harvard and MIT.
The risk comes only from mutations present on the specific DNA sequences that can cause people to produce more or less of the genes.
Researchers do not yet know whether having more or less a gene is a risk – and have only been able to locate the regions associated with Covid.
Commercial tests available, costing up to £ 150, do not tell people if they have a mutation on the gene.
Of the 13 genetic markers identified so far, two occur more frequently among patients of East Asian or South Asian descent than those of European descent.
Other genetic markers are also associated with lung cancer, lung fibrosis and some autoimmune diseases.
In addition to DNA, the researchers found that smoking and high BMI were also linked to getting really bad.
The studies were led by researchers at University College London, the University of York and the University of Liverpool.
One of the studies is the first to determine the number of children who died from Covid rather than with the virus. It concluded that the virus killed 25 children in England.
Coronavirus contributed 0.8 percent of the 3,105 deaths in children of all causes in the first year of the pandemic.
During the same period, 124 children died of suicide, while 268 died of trauma, showing that Covid is ‘rarely fatal’ in children, the researchers said.
They found that those under 18 who died were more likely to be teenagers than younger children, indicating that the risk of the virus increases with age.
Higher proportions of Asian and black children died of the virus, but these deaths were ‘still extremely rare’, they said.
More than 75 percent of the dead children had chronic conditions, while two-thirds had more than one underlying condition, and 60 percent had life-limiting conditions.
Six of the dead children were not registered as underlying health problems, but the researchers said they may have had undiagnosed diseases.
The newspaper says the ‘extremely low’ risk of death means removing children from their normal activities such as school and social events ‘may prove to be a greater risk than SARS-CoV-2 itself.’
Another study showed that 251 young people in the UK were admitted to intensive care with Covid from March 2020 to February this year, which equates to about one in 50,000 at risk.
Of these patients, 91 percent had one or more underlying health conditions.
They also found that one in 2,000 was hospitalized with Covid, equivalent to nearly 6,000 children.
They also found that there is one in 40,000 risk of children being admitted to care with a rare inflammatory syndrome called PIMS-TS, which is caused by Covid.
Fewer than five children died of PIMS-TS.
They said their findings show that ‘very few’ children hospitalized in England because of Covid or PIMS-TS developed a serious illness or died.
They concluded that older and ethnic minority children, as well as those who had conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease, were more at risk, which is ‘very similar’ to patterns of hospitalizations in adults.
A third study, led by Dr. Rachel Harwood at the University of Liverpool, supported the results of the other papers.
The researchers found that among the children admitted to the hospital with Covid, those with the highest risk of serious illness or death are teenagers, have heart or brain disorders, two or more underlying diseases or are overweight.
The researchers recommended that these groups be considered a higher priority for vaccination and shielding.
Professor Russell Viner, senior author of two of the studies and professor of adolescent health at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: ‘These new studies show that the risk of serious illness or death from SARS-CoV-2 is extremely low in children and young.
‘The young people at higher risk are those who are also at higher risk for any winter virus or other disease – that is, young people with multiple health conditions and complex disabilities. However, Covid-19 increases the risk for humans in these groups to a greater extent than for diseases such as influenza (seasonal influenza).
‘Our new findings are important as they will inform foreclosure guidance for young people as well as decisions on vaccination of teenagers and children, not only in the UK but also internationally.’
The results come as No. 10 considers their approach to vaccinating children.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of SAGE, said last month that more data was needed on the benefits of children getting a jab, and that it should be ‘incredibly robust’ because of their low risk of the virus.
He said a push to vaccinate young people would be to reduce transmission of society, “rather than primarily to protect them”.
Professor Semple said: ‘The awareness of safety in children is growing, but I would say that it is not as robust as it should be if there were to be carpet vaccination of children who themselves are not at risk of very serious illness.
‘That’s the crux of the matter. If you need to vaccinate children to protect society, it is a reasonable decision that can be made, but you will want to do so with full knowledge of the safety data. ‘