The transmission and impact of COVID-19 among the elderly and adults are well known, but a study is now underway in BC to understand how many children have contracted the virus.

The head of the research team is Dr. Manish Sadarangani, associate-professor with the University of BC Pediatrics Department, and Director of Children’s Hospital Vaccine Evaluation Center.

Dr. Sadarangani says they want to learn how many infants to 24-year-olds in BC have been infected with COVID-19.

The goal is to understand the role of babies, teens, and young adults in the transmission of the virus.

There are presently questions around whether youth are infected at the same rate as adults, but never show symptoms, or whether the infection rate is actually lower.

Dr. Sadarangani says his team will mail thousands of antibody testing kits to children and young adults under the age of 25 around the province.

The team will also send a companion survey to ask parents about their children’s exposure risks, such as if they are compliant with distancing guidelines and mask-wearing, and whether they go to school or work and their modes of transportation.

The study’s results will be used for decision-making around maintaining or relaxing physical distancing measures.

Dr. Sadarangani’s team is recruiting participants from five different age categories: under five, five to nine, 10 to 14, 15 to 19, and 20 to 24 years of age. Study participants can be from anywhere in the province.

To be part of the study a consent form must be signed, an online questionnaire will be filled out, and a home finger prick test needs to be done.

Parents will be informed if their child has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, although that still does not guarantee immunity against the virus

To participate in the study please visit: www.bcchr.ca/springstudy