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expert reaction to report on 8 children with hyperinflammatory shock during the COVID-19 pandemic

A report, published in the The Lancet, reports on 8 children with hyperinflammatory shock during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prof Jon Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Infectious Diseases, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, said:

“This report describes 8 children who suffered a very acute and very severe inflammatory illness. Notably, during the week that the report was being peer reviewed, the same team saw another 12 patients. All the patients tested negative for SARS-COV-2 but 10 of the 20 were positive for antibody, suggesting that they had been exposed at some time. The description of this cluster at a time when attention is also focussed on the SARS-COV-2 pandemic naturally raises the suspicion of a “new” clinical syndrome in children associated with coronavirus. This suspicion is underlined by the fact that 6 of the 8 were of Afro Caribbean descent, 5 were boys, and 7 of the 8 were clinically obese. These three characteristics align with several putative risk factors for coronavirus infection. Nevertheless, some caution is needed in jumping to the conclusion that this is “paediatric Covid”. The investigators report that 4 of the 8 cases had been exposed to Coronavirus; hence, it is perhaps not surprising that they had detectable antibodies. Secondly, the clinical syndrome described, that of atypical Kawasaki shock syndrome, or toxic shock syndrome, can be precipitated by various stimuli and it is conceivable that this cluster was caused not by Covid but as a result of some other infective or non infective stimulus. Nevertheless, the media reports that followed the initial description of these cases resulted in similar clusters being described in several other specialist centres, lending credence to the fact that this is indeed a new, but thankfully rare, concerning clinical syndrome.”


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

None received.

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