Bibliography of published COVID-19 in children literature

Arch Dis Child. 2022 Feb;107(2):168-172. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2021-321751. Epub 2021 May 6.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest worldwide health challenge in this century. Research concerning the role of children in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and investigating the clinical effects of infection in children, has been vital. This paper describes the publication trend for pertinent scientific literature relating to COVID-19 in children during the first 6 months of the pandemic.

Methods: A comprehensive search of preprint and published literature was conducted daily across four databases (PubMed, Scopus, Ovid-Embase and MedRXiv) between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. Titles and abstracts were screened against predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Findings: Over the study period, a total of 45 453 papers were retrieved, of which 476 met our inclusion criteria. The cumulative number of children described in included publications totalled (at most) 41 396. The median number of children per paper was 6 (IQR 1-33). Nearly one-third of papers (30.2%) reported on a single child, and a further 28.3% reported on between 1 and 9 children. Half of all the publications originated from Asia.

Interpretation: Our prospective bibliographic analysis of paediatric COVID-19 publications demonstrated a steady increase in the number of papers over time. Understanding and policy evolved with new information that was gathered over the course of the study period. However, over half of publications were individual case reports or small case series, which may have had a limited contribution to advancement of knowledge. During a pandemic, literature should be interpreted with great caution, and clinical/policy decisions should be continually reviewed in light of emerging evidence.

Keywords: COVID-19; data collection; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bibliographies as Topic*
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Humans