Viral infections, genetic factors may be linked to mystery hepatitis in kids, studies suggest – CBC

Co-infection involving unusual pathogen, other viruses plus specific gene may play roles, say U.K. scientists

Jul 31, 2022

As scientists around the world are racing to understand what caused a spate of so-far unexplained cases of hepatitis in children — including some who needed liver transplants — two new U.K. studies are offering fresh clues.

In both papers, an unusual virus called adeno-associated virus-2 (AAV2) is implicated as one aspect of a complex mechanism that might be sparking rare and serious liver issues, including two dozen cases this year among Canadian children.

The preprint studies are from research teams in London and Glasgow, and not yet formally published or peer-reviewed. The teams looked at small numbers of children who suffered from liver inflammation which wasn’t caused by the obvious culprits, such as the usual family of hepatitis viruses, alongside healthy control subjects.

Researchers in both regions identified high levels of AAV2 in blood samples taken from young patients with unexplained hepatitis and indications of other viral infections.

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