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A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that infants and toddlers who were infected with COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of antibodies against the virus compared to adults.

The study, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed 682 children and adults in 175 Maryland households. 

The participants, who ranged in age from 0 to 62, had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Of the participants who had antibodies, levels of “neutralizing antibodies” – which help predict protection against severe COVID-19 infection – were nearly twice as high in children ages 0-4 compared to adults.

“This study demonstrates that even children in the first few years of life have the capacity to develop strong antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which in some cases exceed adult responses,” Ruth Karron, professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative, told the Hub

The researchers conducted the study to learn more about COVID infection in children under 5, the only Americans who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. 

On Wednesday, Moderna announced that it would seek emergency authorization of its vaccine for children younger than 6. Last month, Pfizer delayed seeking emergency authorization for children under 5 to wait for more data. 

Few studies have analyzed antibody responses to COVID in both children and adults, and results have varied. 

Findings from the Hopkins study “should provide some reassurance that with the appropriate vaccine doses we can effectively immunize very young children against SARS-CoV-2,” Karron said.