discoveries magazine

COVID-19 in Kids and MIS-C

An illustration of a rare condition in pediatric COVID-19 patients MIS-C.

A rare condition in pediatric COVID-19 patients can trigger an attack on vital organs weeks after infection. But an investigation led by Cedars-Sinai has uncovered potential predictors of the condition, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and could open avenues to better therapies.

The scientists identified an array of pathways leading to MIS-C—along with proteins in the blood that could act as biomarkers to forecast the severity of the syndrome and help drive treatment decisions.

Another recent study by Cedars-Sinai unmasked potential culprits contributing to MIS-C. The investigators found that children with the condition were unique because of differences in their T cells—immune cells that help the body fight infection. While most people have a diversity of T cell receptors, the study revealed that children with MIS-C likely have limited types of receptors or even just one type, suggesting an immune response to a special type of virus molecule called a “superantigen.”

The findings shed new light on the mysteries of MIS-C.