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While children were initially thought to be spared from the worst of SARS-CoV-2, more than two years later, long COVID clinics are full of pediatric patients, with parents looking for guidance on a range of symptoms affecting their kids’ daily lives.
The emergent nature of long COVID makes it especially difficult to define, diagnose, and treat, particularly for children, according to Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MHP, of the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“If you look at some of the early information that came out — you can go find headlines on the web … that said children are spared — we started this pandemic thinking kids weren’t a part of it, and it’s impacted the policy ever since,” Kleinman told MedPage Today. “And we know that’s just not true. It’s a myth.”
As part of the steering committee for the RECOVER Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored collaboration of more than 100 researchers, Kleinman has been focused on research in pediatric long COVID cases.
In addition to RECOVER, other groups have been studying long COVID in children, including the Collaborative Long-term study of Outcomes of COVID-19 in Kids (CLOCK) consortium at Rutgers and the PreVAIL kids team. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is also planning to publish consensus guidance on diagnosing and treating long COVID in kids as part of their post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) series.
Dr. Amanda Morrow, of Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, a co-author of the PASC guidance, noted the many challenges that kids with long COVID face.