SARS-CoV-2 infections in children: Understanding diverse outcomes

Immunity. 2022 Feb 8;55(2):201-209. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2022.01.014. Epub 2022 Jan 20.


SARS-CoV-2 infections mostly lead to mild or even asymptomatic infections in children, but the reasons for this are not fully understood. More efficient local tissue responses, better thymic function, and cross-reactive immunity have all been proposed to explain this. In rare cases of children and young people, but very rarely in adults, post-infectious hyperinflammatory syndromes can develop and be serious. Here, I will discuss our current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and hypothesize that a life history and energy allocation perspective might offer an additional explanation to mild infections, viral dynamics, and the higher incidence of rare multisystem inflammatory syndromes in children and young people.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Age Factors
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / etiology
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions* / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / etiology
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Virus Replication

Supplementary concepts

  • pediatric multisystem inflammatory disease, COVID-19 related