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Extreme outcomes in hospitalized youngsters in the course of the Omicron BA.2-dominated fifth wave in Hong Kong

A current examine posted to Preprints with The Lancet* investigated the illness severity of extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron BA.2 an infection amongst Hong Kong youngsters.

Research: Intrinsic Severity of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2 in Uninfected, Unvaccinated Kids: A Inhabitants-Primarily based, Case-Management Research on Hospital Issues. Picture Credit score: Beenicebeelove/Shutterstock


Earlier than the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program commenced in the UK (UK), greater than 469,900 youngsters below 18 years had been identified with COVID-19, with 5 fatalities per 100,000 youngsters. COVID-19 has killed greater than six million individuals, and pediatric deaths represent about 0.4%. SARS-CoV-2 Omicron, the lately emerged variant of concern (VOC), has prompted the newest surge in COVID-19 circumstances worldwide.

Though the illness severity with Omicron infections is reportedly milder in these protected against earlier an infection or immunization or each, it could not maintain true for these (youngsters) who’re but to be vaccinated.

Hong Kong, which has enforced stringent COVID-19-related measures for the reason that onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been witnessing an alarming surge of infections currently. Hong Kong had recorded simply over 14,000 circumstances earlier than the emergence of the Omicron variant. Nonetheless, infections soared to report highs, and greater than 0.9 new million circumstances had been reported between December 31st, 2021, and March 15th, 2022. Many research recommend that SARS-CoV-2 Omicron won’t simply trigger milder infections as beforehand speculated.

The examine

The researchers of the current population-based, case-control examine evaluated the illness outcomes in Hong Kong youngsters hospitalized with COVID-19. Kids aged 11 years or under hospitalized between February 5 and 28, 2022 (an Omicron BA.2-dominant interval) had been studied, who lacked prior immunity as Hong Kong started vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds in mid-January 2022.

Digital medical information obtained from the medical information evaluation and reporting system (CDARS) within the specified interval had been reviewed. Moreover, hospitalization information of SARS-CoV-2-infected youngsters had been extracted between January 1st, 2021, and November 1st, 2021 (pre-Omicron interval). Lastly, influenza and parainfluenza-associated youngster hospitalization information between 2015 and 2019 had been additionally retrieved. These coinfected with two or extra respiratory viruses had been excluded from the examine.

The extracted information had been categorized into the next courses– 1) fatality and extreme, 2) neurological, and three) respiratory issues. Fatality and extreme issues had been categorised primarily based on the case fatality price (CFR), pediatric intensive care (PICU) admissions, mechanical air flow, and oxygen use. These with neurological issues had been stratified into seizures and encephalitis or encephalopathy sub-classes. Kids had been additional grouped primarily based on respiratory issues like croup or pneumonia. Odds ratios (OR) for the desired outcomes had been calculated utilizing binary logistic regression evaluation.


Within the interval between February 5th and 28th, 2022, about 1147 youngsters had been hospitalized on account of Omicron infections, of which 80.21% had been aged below 5 years. Earlier than November 1st, 2021, 737 youngsters had been hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Through the interval between 2015 and 2019, round 32,212 and 16,423 youngster hospitalizations had been on account of influenza and parainfluenza infections, respectively. Within the Omicron-dominant wave, 4 youngsters died on account of COVID-19.

Two deaths had been attributed to their neurological issues – considered one of them had encephalopathy, and the opposite had fulminant cerebral edema, a lately acknowledged encephalitis phenotype. Nonetheless, COVID-19-related deaths weren’t noticed within the pre-Omicron interval. CFR of COVID-19 throughout Omicron surge (0.35%) was greater than that of influenza (0.05%) and parainfluenza (0.04%) infections. PICU admissions had been greater in the course of the Omicron surge (1.83%) than in pre-Omicron waves (0.14%) and the 5 years (2015 to 2019) on account of influenza (0.79%) and parainfluenza (1.64%). The chances of PICU admissions had been greater within the Omicron interval than earlier COVID-19 waves and influenza however just like parainfluenza circumstances.

Through the Omicron-dominant interval, 171 hospitalized youngsters had neurological issues, the commonest being febrile seizure with 11.6% incidence. Earlier than the Omicron interval, there have been no seizure circumstances in COVID-19-hospitalized youngsters. Furthermore, the chances of all varieties of seizures amongst youngsters with Omicron infections had been greater than these with influenza and parainfluenza. Sixty-one (5.32%) youngsters contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant developed croup in comparison with two (0.27%) contaminated with earlier SARS-CoV-2 variants, 601 (1.87) with influenza, and 889 (5.41%) with parainfluenza. The incidence of pneumonia in youngsters on account of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron was just like these contaminated with earlier variants however decrease in influenza and parainfluenza circumstances.


The examine findings confirmed that SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2 infections resulted in additional youngster hospitalizations within the 23 days of the examine than 22 months earlier than. This indicated that the BA.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron was extra pathogenic than prior SARS-CoV-2 variants and influenza virus and steered that youngsters be vaccinated to stop extreme outcomes.

One notable limitation of the examine was the shortage of viral genome sequencing information verifying that every one infections in February 2022 had been prompted solely by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2 variant. Nonetheless, epidemiological information point out the preponderance of the Omicron variant proper from the beginning of the newest surge.

*Necessary discover

Preprints with The Lancet publish preliminary scientific reviews that aren’t peer-reviewed and, due to this fact, shouldn’t be thought to be conclusive, information medical apply/health-related conduct, or handled as established info.



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