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UB researching why children are less susceptible to COVID-19

Ellen Goldbaum
University at Buffalo

Institutions across the United States are researching ways to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo is one of those institutions. 

Dr. Mark Hicar, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Jacobs School, is researching how the virus affects children compared to adults in hopes of better understanding the formation of antibodies in COVID-19 patients. He says the research could help identify a potential treatment for the virus.

The study aims to understand if the difference in antibodies and B-cell responses in children and adults has a connection to why adults are more susceptible to coronavirus than children.

“I think this is not something that is just going to be an issue for the next six to eight weeks, either. This is going to be with us until we can get a vaccine to get rid of it” Hicar said.

Hicar received his fifth sample today and hopes to generate sequence information within six to eight weeks. Blood samples for the studies are being provided by COVID-19 patients in Kaleida Health hospitals.

“Hopefully, in a few months, we’ll have some answers. There is not going to be a vaccine for 12 to 18 months. Hopefully, it works and we don’t need to look at our data to help improve it. If it doesn’t work as well as we want, then my study and studies like mine…can help tell us what a better vaccine might be” Hicar said.

Hicar urges locals to listen to public health reports and abide by CDC recommendations.