Child died at Bonn university hospital Covid patient (3) presented with lung and heart failure

Bonn · The University Hospital of Bonn has published more detailed information on the case of the infant suffering from Covid-19, who died in April at the hospital. According to the report, the three-year-old presented with lung and heart failure.

 A three-year-old girl has died of Covid-19 disease at the University Hospital of Bonn.

A three-year-old girl has died of Covid-19 disease at the University Hospital of Bonn.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

The three-year-old girl, who died in April at the University Hospital in Bonn after a sars-CoV-2 infection, was chronically ill according to the clinic and was treated with immunodeficiency drugs. "After she was admitted to a clinic in NRW she was transferred to the University Hospital in Bonn because of a seizure and needed resuscitation during the treatment there," said the University Hospital in Bonn.

In the case of severe lung and heart failure, the child was transferred to Bonn to be treated in the specialised children's ECMO centre. Patients who cannot be cared for by small hospitals or other wards are still given a chance here. The girl was to be ventilated through an artificial lung, with the so-called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). However, when it turned out that the brain was irreversibly damaged, the doctors decided to abandon ECMO therapy, "so the child died of multiorgan failure after further deterioration," explains the University Hospital.

Whether the three-year-old died from lung failure caused by the novel corona virus or from the complications of epileptic seizures remains a matter of speculation. "Also, the criteria of a multi-system inflammatory syndrome of childhood, caused by SARS-CoV-2, are not met."

But the case is not closed to the medical community. Currently, paediatricians and geneticists at the University Hospital are working on its treatment. They found genetic variants that suggest a congenital immune defect, which could have led to the severe course of the disease. "This is an exceptional individual case and course of the disease, which we suspect has a rare genetic cause," says Wolfgang Holzgreve, head of the clinic. The scientific findings might help us to better understand the interaction of the virus with the immune system.

The virologist Hendrik Streeck is also involved in the investigations. The research itself could take months; the entire genome of the child and parents will be sequenced. In addition, homozygous variants in two genes have been identified, i.e. "pure" variants. This means that both parents have passed on genetic information. "Both genes have a function in the immune system," said Holzgreve. The scientific report was submitted for publication in a scientific journal.

The fact that the death of the child was not published was due to consideration for the relatives. However, the doctors had reported the incident to the Covid 19 Survey of the German Society for Pediatric Infectiology.

(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach, Translation: Mareike Graepel)