NIH Awards Grants Toward Diagnosis of COVID-19-Related Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

Research will focus on new technologies for early diagnosis of severe illnesses resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Yesterday, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it awarded 8 research grants to aid in early diagnosis of severe illnesses resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. The new awards follow grants issued in 2020 to foster methods for diagnosing children at high risk for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

“MIS-C symptoms generally appear 2–6 weeks after infection, and it is common that children with MIS-C would have had no or few symptoms of COVID-19,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote on its website.

According to the CDC, MIS-C incidence remains rare. It typically occurs in 1 of approximately 3000 to 4000 children and adolescents who had SARS-CoV-2 infection. MIS-C has become even rarer since the start of the pandemic: the number of MIS-C cases reported decreased from 2020 to 2022.

Although some children develop mild or no symptoms from COVID-19, others will develop more severe effects, including MIS-C, which results in inflammation of one or more organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract.

These awards are from NIH’s Predicting Viral-Associated Inflammatory Disease Severity in Children with Laboratory Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence (PreVAIL kIds) initiative. They are part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Radical (RADx-rad) program to support new, non-traditional approaches and reimagined uses of existing tools to address gaps in COVID-19 testing and surveillance.

“These highly innovative technologies and tools have the potential to greatly improve the care of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection and other fever-causing illnesses,” said Bill Kapogiannis, MD, of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which oversees the grants.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all.


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