BOSTON (CBS) – A new study underway could help figure out why children are not getting as sick from coronavirus.

Researchers are enrolling 6,000 people from 2,000 families and they will look at the percentage of kids infected who actually develop symptoms. The families are already participating in federally-funded pediatric research studies in 11 cities, including Boston.

The researchers will also study if there is any difference in those numbers for children who have asthma or other allergies.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, is sponsoring and funding the study, which is named HEROS (Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2.)

“One interesting feature of this novel coronavirus pandemic is that very few children have become sick with COVID-19 compared to adults,” Dr. Fauci said in a statement. “Is this because children are resistant to infection with SARS-CoV-2, or because they are infected but do not develop symptoms? The HEROS study will help us begin to answer these and other key questions.”

Boston Children’s Hospital is running a separate study.

The hospital has treated dozens of children with coronavirus. “Some were incredibly sick and then some were essentially asymptomatic and get picked up because we did a test before an operation or that sort of thing,” said Dr. Michael Agus.

He said there are some theories why kids don’t get as sick, one involving the maturity of the lungs.

“The best we understand is that the virus binds to a particular receptor in the lungs and that receptor is much more common as we age,” said Agus.

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