Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

First results of the What’s the STORY (Serum Testing Of Representative Youngsters) trial indicate higher resilience of children to COVID-19 compared to other respiratory illnesses.

Boy and girl playing piggyback rides. © Image by Pexels

What’s the STORY – a study run by the Oxford Vaccine Group in collaboration with Public Health England and funded by the National Institute for Health Research – investigates the prevalence of COVID-19 in children. Assessing the rates of coronavirus infection and immunity in children and teenagers will help to identify their role in spreading the disease, thus providing essential data for guiding governmental response to the pandemic.

The nationwide trial, commenced in February 2020, is led by Professor Matthew Snape from the Oxford Vaccine Group. As part of the study, OVG researchers assess the participants’ immunity by checking for coronavirus antibodies – the presence of which indicates that a child has already had COVID-19, even though they might not necessarily have shown symptoms.

Initial results of the trial show that between 3 and 4 percent of children in the study tested positive for antibodies – however, of those who tested positive, fewer than 10 percent showed any symptoms of COVID-19. The proportion of participants with detected antibodies was much higher in London than in other study sites.

These results suggest that although very few children and teenagers are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, their infection rates are not that different from those seen in adults. Together with other studies this indicates COVID-19 does not spread readily via children, making it very different to other respiratory diseases, such as influenza. The finding “provides some reassurance when it comes to opening schools”, stated Professor Snape in an interview for BBC Newsnight.

More information about the study can be found on the What’s the STORY trial website, and the NIHR site.

Listen to Deb Cohen's interview with Professor Matthew Snape's on BBC Newsnight:

Similar stories

Oxford Vaccine Group among winners at NHS Parliamentary awards

Researchers behind the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine have been recognised for their excellence at a healthcare awards ceremony.

Mixed Oxford/Pfizer vaccine schedules generate robust immune response against COVID-19, finds Oxford-led study

Alternating doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines generate robust immune responses against COVID-19, according to researchers running the University of Oxford-led Com-COV study.

Delayed second dose and third doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine lead to heightened immune response

Research on the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, also known as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, indicates that a long interval between first and second doses does not compromise the immune response after a late second dose.

First trial participants vaccinated with Oxford COVID-19 variant vaccine

The University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca began vaccinations on 27 June 2021 for a new phase in human trials to test a COVID-19 vaccine ‘AZD2816’ in volunteers against the B.1.351 variant of concern – commonly known as the Beta variant.

Oxford researchers identify levels of antibody protection required to prevent symptomatic COVID-19

Researchers from the University of Oxford have today released their findings about the so-called ‘correlates of protection’ against symptomatic COVID-19; potentially a tool to speed up safe development of new vaccines which may assist regulators in assessing the likely potency of any new COVID-19 vaccine without the need for Phase III efficacy trial data.

Latest data on immune response to COVID-19 reinforces need for vaccination, says Oxford-led study

A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that previous infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, does not necessarily protect you long-term from COVID-19, particularly against new Variants of Concern.