Doctors have identified a group of blood compounds that may help to reveal which children are most at risk of developing a rare but life-threatening immune reaction to coronavirus.
The new syndrome emerged last month after hospitals in London admitted a number of children to intensive care units with symptoms that resembled toxic shock mixed with an inflammatory disorder known as Kawasaki disease.
Hospitals around the world have since reported hundreds of similar cases that many doctors believe are caused by the immune system overreacting to the virus sometimes weeks after infection.
“We know that these markers are present in the very sick patients and at lower levels in some patients with normal Kawasaki disease,” said Michael Levin, a professor of paediatrics and international child health at Imperial.
It will take more research to work out if the markers are reliable. If they are, doctors could potentially identify children most at risk from the condition with a simple blood test.