THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Researchers at the University of B.C. are partnering with BC Children’s Hospital to launch a study about kids, COVID-19 and antibodies.

On Tuesday (Dec. 1), both facilities unveiled the SPRING project, which is looking to find out how many kids, teens and young adults have contracted the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“We’ve seen, even from earlier on in the pandemic, the number of children that appear to be infected is relatively low,” said lead researcher Dr. Manish Sadarangani, associate professor in the UBC department of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Evaluation Center at BC Children’s Hospital.

Sadarangani said this seemed unusual, given that children are well-known for spreading colds, flus and other respiratory viruses through classrooms.

According to B.C. Centre for Disease control date, so far 4,196 children and teens have been infected with COVID-19; 1,303 under the age of 10 and 2,893 between 10 and 19 years old. An additional 7,692 of 20 to 29-year-olds have tested positive for the virus, but the B.C. CDC does not break out up 20 to 24-year-olds, which is as high as the study aims to measure.

There are multiple theories as to why children seem to not get infected with, and spread around, COVID-19, the disease is caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

“There are other coronaviruses that are similar to COVID-19 and kids who may have been infected with those more recently than adults, for example, may have some partial immunity that in some way is protecting them from getting COVID-19,” Sadarangani said. “But I don’t think we yet fully understand.”

Sadarangani said that part of the issue is that children are often asymptomatic carriers and that getting your child tested can seem difficult, “because of the invasiveness of the test, especially before the swish and spit test we have available.”

Testing of asymptomatic individuals, particularly prior to surgery, has revealed people who had no idea they were even infected with the virus, Sadarangani said.

“I think one of the challenges has been getting enough children,” he said of antibody testing.

READ MORE: Fever, loss of taste or smell and nausea among telltale COVID symptoms in kids, study suggests

READ MORE: Schools, hospitals top B.C.’s COVID-19 protection list

The SPRING study is looking for up to 16,000 participants now. To be eligible, participants must be under the age of 25 and living in B.C. They will be emailed a short online survey about their basic demographics and health, as well as symptoms of COVID-19. They will also be sent a kit in the mail to collect an at-home self-administered finger or heel-prick blood sample. Both the survey and blood sample will take under an hour to complete and then the sample will be mailed back to researchers.

Sadarangani said that while the study will be ongoing, the hope is to get data out after the first few weeks to help inform the next stages of COVID-19 measures. Participants will also find out if they or their child has COVID-19 antibodies.

For more information and to enrol, those interested can visit www.bcchr.ca/vec/research/spring-study.

READ MORE: BCTF asks parents to ‘create a culture of mask wearing’ as schools excluded from new rules

READ MORE: ‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment 3 times after ingesting drugs from Chemainus parks

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Jim Neiser of Neiser Sales, Service & Rentals Ltd. died suddenly on Jan. 4. after suffering an apparent cardiac event at work. (Submitted photo)
Prominent Lake Cowichan businessman Jim Neiser dead at 63

Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day said the long-time laker will be missed.

The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Most Read