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Tackling covid-19 in children with your support

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Dr Nazima Pathan working in a hospital

Identifying risk factors

Although children are generally less affected by SARS-CoV-2, some children will develop severe COVID-19 and become critically ill with a much wider range of symptoms than adults – a rare condition known as Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS). Whilst most will recover from the initial illness, these children can face lasting problems that impact their long-term health and well-being. 

At the University of Cambridge, Dr Nazima Pathan's research aims to identify biological factors that can influence a child’s risk of severe COVID-19 and the long-term complications from the illness. She hopes it can lead to earlier and more personalised treatments to help give these children the best possible outcome.

This research also expects to uncover new knowledge about why children with COVID-19 are more protected from the disease compared to adults – and why they have different symptoms. To learn more please visit our COVID-19 – identifying risk factors for severe disease or long-term complications in children project page.

Our findings could lead to early, personalised treatment for children who are severely affected with COVID-19, giving them the best chance of a full and rapid recovery.

Dr Pathan
Pregnant women in hospital attached to a fetal monitoring device

Understanding infection in pregnant women and their babies

It’s thought that thousands of pregnant women in the UK are likely to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 – many with no symptoms. Professor Kirsty Le Doare at St George’s University of London is leading a study that aims to screen pregnant women from a variety of hospitals across England to identify how many women have been infected with the virus – and whether the virus or protective antibodies are passed from the mother to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.

Professor Le Doare hopes her findings will help inform how to protect women and their babies from any potential risks from this virus, both now and in the futureIf you'd like to learn more please visit our COVID-19: Understanding SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women and their babies project page.

We hope that our findings will help to reassure pregnant and breastfeeding women about how to safely care for their babies. It will also help inform future decision-making about vaccinating pregnant women to help protect them and their babies from infection.

Professor Le Doare
Child in hospital recovering from brain surgery

Studying the pandemic’s impact on children with brain tumours

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of children will have received the devastating diagnosis that they have a brain tumour – sadly the most common cause of childhood cancer death.

Dr Ibrahim Jalloh at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Professor Rachel Isba of Lancaster University are studying whether disruptions to the health service have affected how long it took these children to receive a diagnosis and start treatment – and the likelihood of a successful outcome.

The research will not only give these children and families an opportunity to share their experiences, but also inform guidance for treating cancer patients during periods of disruption. You can learn more details about this project on our COVID-19: exploring the impact of the pandemic on the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of children with brain tumours project page.

Our findings should lead to recommendations for managing cancer and other specialist healthcare services during future periods of service disruption.

Professor Isba