Researchers from the United Kingdom revealed new findings on the new mysterious hepatitis type that has been affecting children.
According to two recent studies conducted independently and simultaneously in Scotland and London, Adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2), played a substantial effect and was present in 96 percent of all patients analyzed.
Both studies came to the conclusion that the new severe hepatitis could be best explained by co-infection with either AAV2 and an adenovirus or, occasionally, the herpes virus HHV6.
“The presence of the AAV2 virus is associated with unexplained hepatitis in children. This virus can only infrequently in the presence of another virus (usually an adenovirus),” said Emma Thomson, senior author of the Scottish paper which was conducted at the University of Glasgow.
Since last October, the World Health Organization (WHO) has documented at least 1,010 probable cases, including 46 that required organ transplants and 22 fatalities due to the illness.
The possibility of current or past SARS-CoV-2 infection as a primary cause of the acute hepatitis was successfully ruled out by both studies.
The researchers also raised the possibility that a peak in adenovirus infections in the general population following a period of lockdown may have contributed to this, through decreased immunity in children to some viruses and changes in patterns of virus circulation.
Thomson warned that it was still unclear if AAV2 was the actual disease-causing agent or only a biomarker for a more subtle but nonetheless predominant viral infection.
Dr. Antonia Ho, a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the University of Glasgow said that “The temporal association between adenovirus/ HHV6 and AAV2 infections requires further study.”
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