Published on Sun May 30 2021

Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in the pediatric population of the United States

Dien Bard, J., Bootwalla, M., Leber, A., Planet, P., Moustafa, A., Harris, R., Chen, P. Y., Shen, L., Ostrow, D., Maglinte, D., Flores, J., Somak, R., Ranganathan, S., Perlman, E., Zheng, X., Selvarangan, R., Banerjee, D., Delaney, M., Campos, J., Michael, D. G., Vilain, E., LoTempio, J., Dunn, J., Jung, S., Dominguez, S., Judkins, A., Gai, X.

Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 2119 patients <19 years old between 03/20 to 04/21 identified 252 VOCs and 560 VOC signature mutations, most from 10/20 onwards. There continues to be a need for ongoing genomic surveillance.

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Abstract

The evolution of SARS-CoV2 virus has led to the emergence of variants of concern (VOC). Children, particularly <12 years old not yet eligible for vaccines, continue to be important reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 yet VOC prevalence data in this population is lacking. We report data from a genomic surveillance program that includes 9 U.S. childrens hospitals. Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 2119 patients <19 years old between 03/20 to 04/21 identified 252 VOCs and 560 VOC signature mutations, most from 10/20 onwards. From 02/21 to 04/21, B.1.1.7 prevalence increased from 3.85% to 72.22% corresponding with the decline of B.1.429/B.1.427 from 51.82% to 16.67% at one institution. 71.74% of the VOC signature mutations detected were in children <12 years old, including 33 cases of B.1.1.7 and 119 of B.1.429/B.1.427. There continues to be a need for ongoing genomic surveillance, particularly among young children who will be the last groups to be vaccinated.