Children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)—a rare condition caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus—have biochemical indicators of cell injury and cell death that are distinct from other children with COVID-19, according to a study funded by the NIH. Using high-speed, artificial intelligence-controlled molecular sequencing of blood-and-plasma RNA and plasma DNA, researchers found that children with MIS-C have biomarkers indicating damage to multiple organs, the lining of blood vessels, and the nervous system.
MIS-C usually occurs two to six weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection, resulting in inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal tract.
To conduct the study, researchers analyzed 416 blood samples from 237 patients. Their analysis enabled them to distinguish between patients with MIS-C and COVID-19. They believe their findings could lead to the development of tests that allow clinicians to distinguish between MIS-C and other conditions involving widespread inflammation, such as Kawasaki disease, septic shock, and severe COVID-19, and to the development of more appropriate treatments for each.
The study was conducted by Charles Y. Chiu, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues at several other institutions. It was funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and appears in Cell Reports Medicine.
A previous study of children and adolescents who received a COVID-19 vaccination following MIS-C found that there were no reports of serious complications, including myocarditis or MIS-C recurrence after the injection. Everyone should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends—regardless of whether they have been infected with the virus.
- This press release was originally published on the National Institutes of Health website