Scientists: Social distancing weakens children’s immunity


A number of scientists claimed that social distancing measures, which were applied in most countries of the world to prevent the emerging corona virus, weakened the immune systems of young children and reduced their ability to resist common viruses and diseases.

Over the past 14 months, restrictions on mixing and travel, along with wearing masks and social distancing, have not only reduced the risk of contracting coronavirus, but have also reduced the risk of other common respiratory illnesses. , which is what virologists have expressed concern about, stressing the need not to avoid viruses completely.

According to scientists, before the epidemic, children were regularly exposed to many viral pathogens, and although this does not always lead to their illness, exposure helps strengthen their immune system against viruses in the event of infection in the future.

Scientists are concerned that, if life begins to return to normal, the respiratory viruses that usually circulate each winter will return fiercely and pose a major threat to health and society that may outweigh the threat of “Corona”.

Scientists especially warned of “respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a virus that can cause serious lung infections that require hospitalization, and sometimes death, in young children, for which there are no approved vaccines.

Dr Catherine Moore, a consultant in public health in Wales, said: “The influenza virus is of course dangerous, but there is a vaccine against it. As for the (respiratory syncytial virus) there is no vaccine currently, so children’s lack of exposure to it and the development of immunity against it may constitute a future health crisis.” She added, “While (Corona) has caused a large number of adults to be admitted to hospitals and intensive care units, the same thing may happen with children after life returns to normal, but this time because of their infection with the” respiratory syncytial virus.

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGB), a number of cases of ‘respiratory syncytial virus’ were detected last month in the UK, which is unusual given that the virus usually spreads in the winter.

“It is quite unusual to have (respiratory syncytial virus) in late May,” said Dinan Pillay, professor of virology at University College London.

Pillay added that this may be due to the fact that children have become more sensitive to the virus and have not developed immunity to it in the past period, and this crisis has clearly appeared with the start of easing the restrictions of “Corona”.

For his part, said William Irving, professor of virology at the University of Nottingham, “There are so many unknowns right now and it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen in the winter with respiratory syncytial virus and other pathogens.” “We didn’t see a large number of flu infections last winter, so if it comes back next winter, it could be especially fierce,” he added.

The scientists also expressed their concern that a large number of children did not receive routine vaccinations for a number of different diseases during the outbreak of the epidemic, due to the pressure faced by health care systems, stressing that this matter could cause a future disaster.


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