Birmingham Children's Hospital and University of Birmingham announce pioneering research into potential treatments for children with coronavirus symptoms.

Pioneering research into potential treatments for children with coronavirus symptoms is underway thanks to support from Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. A new disease, known as PIMS-TS, has occurred in children previously infected with COVID-19, with symptoms including a persistent fever and rash, which often requires intensive care support as the arteries around the heart become affected.

Treatments for the disease have been based on those to treat a rare childhood illness known as Kawasaki disease, but scientists at University of Birmingham are undertaking detailed analysis on samples taken from children at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to understand why the disease has occurred and to recommend the best treatments. 

The work has been made possible thanks to more than £20,000 of funding provided by Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. 

Dr Barney Scholefield, Paediatric intensive care consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “Prior research between our Children’s Hospital and our partners at University of Birmingham has established that there is a clear link between COVID-19 and the PIMS-TS disease. This research will help us understand how we can provide better, earlier treatment to prevent long term heart problems”.

Dr Graham Taylor, Lead Scientist at the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham, said: “Our scientists are world-leaders in understanding the paediatric immune system, so we are best placed to undertake this vital research. We know there is a link between children with COVID-19 and those presenting with Kawasaki-like symptoms, so this pioneering research will help us understand that link better and improve patient care.” 

Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “This research has the potential not only to improve the experience for our patients in Birmingham, but also have a far bigger impact for paediatric patients and young adults around the world. Our Children’s Hospital has a long history of world-leading medical research and we are proud to be supporting this pioneering investigation.”