Babies, Toddlers Generate Stronger Immune Response to CCP Virus Than Adults, Study Says


A child looking on as a woman receives the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) COVID-19 vaccine in Nantong, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on July 5, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Infants and toddlers who contract the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus develop significantly stronger antibody response against the virus compared to adults, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), involved 682 individuals in 175 households across Maryland. Participants ranged in age from 0 to 62, and none had yet to receive a vaccine against the CCP virus that causes COVID-19.

Through analyzing blood samples collected between November 2020 and March 2021 from those unvaccinated children and adults, the researchers found detectable antibodies against the original Wuhan strain of the virus in 56 people, meaning that they had had COVID-19 at the time they enrolled in the study. This group of people included 15 children aged 3 months to 4 years, 13 children aged 5 to 17, and 28 adults 18 and older.

According to the study, antibodies to a key site on the CCP virus’s outer spike protein—known as the receptor-binding domain (RBD)—were more than 13 times higher in children aged 4 and younger when compared to adults. For children between 5 and 17 years, it was nine times higher than in adults.

The team also noted that levels of neutralizing antibodies, which is a major indicator of whether a person has developed lifelong immunity to a virus after having recovered from infection, were nearly twice as high in children aged 4 and younger than in adults.

In addition, in most households where both children and adults had antibody evidence of prior infection, children aged 4 and younger had the highest levels of both RBD and neutralizing antibodies of all infected members of the household, according to the findings published in the journal JCI Insight.

“This study demonstrates that even children in the first few years of life have the capacity to develop strong antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which in some cases exceed adult responses,” said Dr. Ruth Karron, the study’s lead author and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

However, Karron indicated that the youngest Americans still need vaccine shots, and that her team’s findings can help determine how many doses they should receive.

“These findings should provide some reassurance that with the appropriate vaccine doses we can effectively immunize very young children against SARS-CoV-2,” she said, reported the university’s official news site.

Currently, the CDC recommends everyone aged 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children aged 5 to 15 years.