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New research explores COVID-19 risk in South African children

Southampton researchers are to bring new insight into COVID-19 risk factors for children in South Africa.

Most research during the pandemic has focused on middle to high income settings. This has led to successful vaccination and public health programmes to combat COVID-19.

This new study will build understanding for children from low-income populations.

It is led by Professor John Holloway from the University of Southampton and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.

Risk factors

Working with researchers at the University of Cape Town, Professor Holloway will analyse samples from 450 children who are part of the Drakenstein Child Health Study cohort in Cape Town.

This will identify the major risk factors of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The research will study disease spectrum, long-term outcomes, the role of antibody testing, and identify new targets for treatment in children.

Global partnership

The study is funded by an NIHR Global Effort on COVID-19 (GECO) grant and also supported by a Global Partnership Award from the University of Southampton.

Professor Holloway said: “We are very proud to be starting this international study that will provide valuable information about Covid infections in children. This is a very different population to those that have been studied so far in the pandemic which mostly have been from resource rich settings.

“As well as providing data that can be used to develop targeted interventions, it will also support training of South African scientists in the bioinformatic methodologies needed to analyse genomic data.”


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