Ensuring that coronavirus tests are accurate in children

Sept. 30, 2021

A challenge with COVID-19 care is the fact that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 tests were validated primarily using data from adults, meaning that these tests might not be as accurate in pediatric patients.

That’s why a team of researchers led by Mary Kathryn Bohn, PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, set out to investigate the accuracy of coronavirus antigen and antibody tests in a pediatric population. The team the results of their work at the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, according to a news release from AACC.

The researchers tested 140 asymptomatic children and adolescents (ages 5 to 18) with a coronavirus antigen test and an antibody test.

From this, they found that the tests’ performance in pediatric individuals was on par with the tests’ performance in adults. All of the antigen test results were negative, which was in keeping with the fact that all study participants were asymptomatic. Furthermore, all of the study participants (3%) who had positive antibody test results had also previously tested positive for the coronavirus in the past.

“A lot of the literature focuses on adults right now, and our study has been one of the few to go into the community and see the performance of these tests in asymptomatic school children and adolescents,” said Bohn. “These types of studies will be really important, especially as the school year starts.”

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