SARS-CoV-2 variants and the risk of pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 among children in Germany (Sept 2022)*

Infection – DOI:10.1007/s15010-022-01908-6

To investigate the relationship between the risk of pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) in children and the predominance of different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) over time. Methods In relation to the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron VOC phases of the pandemic, the risk of developing PIMS-TS was calculated by analyzing data for rtPCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections reported to the German statutory notification system, along with data captured by a separate, national PIMS-TS registry. Both overall infection rates and age group-specific ratios of PIMS-TS during the different pandemic phases were calculated using the Alpha period as the baseline. Results The PIMS-TS rate changed significantly over time. When the Alpha VOC was dominant [calendar week (CW) 11 in March–CW 31 in August 2021], the PIMS-TS rate was 6.19 [95% confidence intervals (95% CI) 5.17, 7.20]. When Delta prevailed (CW 32 in August 2021–CW 4 in January 2022), the rate decreased to 1.68 (95% CI 1.49, 1.87). During the Omicron phase (CW 5 in January–CW 16 in April 2022), the rate fell further to 0.89 (95% CI 0.79, 1.00). These changes correspond to a decreased PIMS-TS rate of 73% (rate ratio 0.271, 95% CI 0.222; 0.332) and 86% (rate ratio 0.048, 95% CI 0.037; 0.062), respectively, in comparison to the Alpha period. Rate ratios were nearly identical for all age groups. The data strongly suggest an association between the risk for PIMS-TS and the prevailing VOC, with highest risk related to Alpha and the lowest to Omicron. Given the uniformity of the decreased risk across age groups, vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to have a significant impact on the risk of children developing PIMS-TS.

* This journal article provides analysis of data gleaned from the DGPI registries.