Lower levels of ACE2 gene expression in the nasal epithelium, the first point of contact for Coronavirus and the human body, may explain why children have a lower risk of Coronavirus infection and mortality, according to the research.
Coronavirus uses ACE2 to enter the host. ACE2 nasal gene expression could potentially be used as a biomarker to evaluate Coronavirus susceptibility, told the researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States of America.
The research, published in the journal JAMA, analysed nearly 300 patients aged four to 50 yeras at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York city.
The researchers found that ACE2 gene expression in nasal epithelium was lowest in younger children and increased with age.
These conclusions could help explain why children appear to be less susceptible to Coronavirus in comparison to adults, researchers said.
The researchers said the results may point to a potential biomarker of Coronavirus susceptibility.
Prospective studies ae needed to assess the degree to which ACE2 expression can be used as a biomarkerfor Coronavirus susceptibility, researchers said.
Why children get Coronavirus less than adults has been a puzzle. Scientists have hypothesised that lower expression of ACE2, which was the Coronavirus uses to enter the host, might explain why children are less likely to get infected with COVID19, told Suoinda Bunyavanich at Mount Sinai.
Our research shows that ACE2 expression in the nasal epithelium is lowest in children and increase with age into adulthood, Bunyavanich added.
The research result may explainwhy children account for less than two percent of identified cases of Coronavirus, researchers added.