Studies look for more clues to possible causes of severe hepatitis in children


LONDON: Two independent studies by British researchers have suggested that a recent rise in cases of acute hepatitis in children is linked to a common childhood virus.
Countries around the world began reporting cases of severe liver inflammation or hepatitis of unknown origin in children in April 2022.
At least 1,010 cases have now been detected in 35 countries World Health Organization. In total, 46 children required liver transplants and 22 died.
Initially, experts suggested that adenovirus — a type of virus that causes the common cold — might be linked to the outbreak.
Study led by University of Glasgow and Great Ormond Street Hospital London suggested that another common virus, adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2), was present in most cases, and may be involved in rare but serious liver complications. Studies were posted on pre-print servers prior to peer review.
The researchers said it is not clear whether AAV2 in the children’s samples is indicative of previous adenovirus infection or a cause in its own right. It is not previously known to cause disease and cannot replicate without a “helper virus” such as an adenovirus.
They said that co-infection with AAV2 and either adenovirus, or less commonly the herpes virus HHV6, was a plausible explanation for cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children and that further research was needed.
AAV2 was present in 96% of cases in both studies, including 37 cases combined United Kingdom as well as control groups.
Scottish researchers found differences in the human leukocyte antigen gene in critically ill children.
Although the reasons behind the timing of the outbreak are unclear, both teams suggested that the coronavirus may have been a factor in the peak of adenovirus cases after the lockdown was lifted.
Both studies also concluded that a link to Covid-19 was very unlikely, as the increase in cases did not follow the peaks of Covid-19, no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 was found in the liver, and the children had similar amounts of antibodies. Among the vast population.

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