The mysterious new hepatitis affecting children has arrived in Italy

In the last period Cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children have been reported in various countries around the worldSpecifically, according to what was revealed by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), around 190 cases have been reported globally to date. The first reports came in early April from the UK, from which more than 100 are currently reported, but subsequently other countries have also begun to register the phenomenon. Among these is Italywhere – according to what is contained in a recent circular from the Ministry of Health – per. On 22 April, a total of 11 possible cases were reported concerning “patients identified in different Italian regions (Abruzzo, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Sicily, Tuscany and Veneto), two of which had been confirmed.

However, the situation seems somewhat worrying, not only because 12 countries globally have currently reported it, but also because some patients have needed to undergo a liver transplant. This was announced by the WHO, which through a press release dated 23 April made it known that all reported cases were related to subjects aged between 1 month and 16 years, as “17 children (approximately 10%) had required a liver transplant and that at least one of them was dead. To all this we must add that the disease – whose main symptoms have hitherto been identified has been abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting – is at present essentially shrouded in an aura of mystery, without knowing its origin. “The viruses that commonly cause acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses) were not detected in any of these cases,” writes the WHO, according to which “adenovirus is a possible hypothesis”. In “at least 74 cases” the latter was actually detected, and in 19 cases a co-infection with coronavirus and adenovirus was detected.

Meanwhile, the theories follow one another, and several experts have communicated their idea of ​​it in the last few days. Among these Lorenzo D’Antiga, director of hepatology, gastroenterology and pediatric transplant unit at Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, who stated that in his opinion it would be “unlikely that the adenovirus is responsible”. Another view, however, is that expressed by the well-known microbiologist Andrea Crisanti, who allegedly stated that a viral infection with adenovirus “would seem like one of the most popular hypotheses”. “Now why adenovirus would suddenly be associated with these hepatitis in children is still a mystery,” Crisanti would have added, according to which one should “investigate a possible immune cause” as “Restrictive measures may have delayed the onset of childhood illnesses”. Finally, there are also those who assume a connection with adenoviral vector vaccines. According to the newspaper The truthin fact, the head of the National Center for Global Health at the Higher Institute of Health (ISS), Maurizio Federico, allegedly said: “Mass vaccination with adenoviral vector vaccines may have favored recombinant adenovirus events which we all usually host. By profession, adenoviruses recombine, that is, parts of the genome change. Thus, mutant viruses may have emerged which can be easily transmitted via the respiratory tract. These new viruses will be more likely to harm guests who have not yet developed natural immunity, such as children. “

However, this theory has apparently been denied by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità itself, which also opposed the adenovirus hypothesis. “Currently, there are no elements suggesting a link between the disease and vaccination, and various considerations would actually lead to exclude it,” we actually read in a note from the ISS, emphasizing that “in almost all cases, where it is known that the status of the affected children had not been vaccinated “, that” the adenovirus hypothesis is unlikely in itself, as this type of virus is not normally associated with liver disease “and that in any case,” adenovirus contained in anti-Sars-Cov -2 adenoviral vector vaccines used in some countries (in Italy AstraZeneca and Janssen) are genetically modified so as not to replicate in the cells of our organism “. “At the current level of knowledge, therefore, the phenomena of recombination between circulating adenovirus and vaccine strain do not appear to be biologically possible,” the ISS concluded.

[di Raffaele De Luca]

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