Children with CF experience mild COVID illness

News -

A global study supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, as part of the Global Registry Harmonization Group, made up of CF specialists from around the world and including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has revealed that children with cystic fibrosis (CF) who do not have pre-existing severe lung damage experience mild or asymptomatic illness when infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new study, published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, assessed the response of 105 children with ages ranging from infants through to teenagers, across 13 countries, the first to look specifically at the response of children with CF to infection from COVID-19.

Researchers from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Newcastle University and institutions around the world found that over two thirds of children managed their symptoms at home. Of the 24 admitted to hospital, six needed extra oxygen and two required non-invasive ventilation.

The data also showed that most children were treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics as is standard practice for any CF respiratory illness. A small number were given antiviral medications, and none received experimental treatments for COVID-19.

Rebecca Cosgriff, Director of Data and Quality Improvement at the Trust, and co-author of the study, said: “In a ground breaking collaborative effort from the worldwide CF community we collected vital data from around the world during a global pandemic that will provide invaluable knowledge to clinicians treating children with cystic fibrosis.

“We hope this provides reassurance to the community and we will continue to monitor new data and learn more information about COVID-19 and cystic fibrosis.”

Dr Malcolm Brodlie, co-author and MRC Clinician Scientist and Clinical Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University and the Great North Children's Hospital, said: “The pandemic continues to have a profound impact on children with CF and their families so this is reassuring news for them. Moving forwards, we hope it will enable them to live their lives in the most fulfilling way possible – this is particularly important given the negative effects of isolation measures on quality of life, mental health, schooling and delivery of healthcare.”

Robbie Bain, co-author from Newcastle University and Trust Summer Studentship recipient, said: “This global project helps shine a light on the outcomes of people with CF after having COVID-19, gathering much needed evidence and helping people make informed choices based on the best available advice.

“After my original lab-based project had to stop due to the pandemic I was thrilled to be a part of this amazing project.”

Find out more about COVID-19 and CF here.

Read the full study here.

To help the Trust fund vital research like this and support people with CF during the COVID-19 pandemic, make a donation today.

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