What chances do children have against COVID-19? Is the answer hidden within the thymus?

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Gunes H., Dincer S., Acipayam C., Yurttutan S., Ozkars M. Y.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS, vol.180, no.3, pp.983-986, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 180 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00431-020-03841-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.983-986
  • Keywords: Children, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Immunosenescence, SARS-CoV-2, Thymus, RESPIRATORY SYNDROME CORONAVIRUS, REPLICATION
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: No


A new type of coronavirus named as SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has begun to threaten human health. As with other types of coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 affects children less frequently, and it has been observed that the disease is mild. In the pathogenesis of a standard viral infection, the pathogen's contact with the mucosa is initially followed by an innate immunity response. T cells are the primary decisive element in adaptive immunity capability. For this reason, the adaptive immune response mediated by the thymus is a process that regulates the immune response responsible for preventing invasive damage from a virus. Regulatory T cells (T-reg) are active during the early periods of life and have precise roles in immunomodulation. The thymus is highly active in the intrauterine and neonatal period; it begins to shrink after birth and continues its activity until adolescence. The loss of T-reg function by age results in difficulty with the control of the immune response, increased inflammation as shown in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as an inflammatory storm. Also, the thymus is typically able to replace the T cells destroyed by apoptosis caused by the virus. Thymus and T cells are the key factors of pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 in children.