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May 20, 2022
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Cases of acute childhood hepatitis, unrelated to covid: Kersenobich

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Angeles Cruz Martinez

Newspaper La Jornada
Friday, May 20, 2022, p. eleven

There have always been cases of fulminant acute hepatitis that lead those affected to need a liver transplant. The important thing in the cases detected in recent weeks in different countries is to identify the causal agent and determine if it is a new virus, said David Kersenobich, a nationally and internationally recognized hepatologist who heads the Salvadoran National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition. Zubiran.

In an interview, the researcher stressed that there are many cases of hepatitis whose origin is unknown. In some others it has been found that they are caused by the consumption of herbal products and other toxic items.

What for a few weeks has been seen in children from one month to 16 years in more than 10 countries in Europe and America is an unprecedented situation, intriguing as a research topic, but it has happened in the history of medicine. In fact, the specialist recalled, it is what the world experienced with covid-19.

The urgency of the population to know the cause of the disease is understood, but it is necessary to investigate to know the origin and the mechanism of action. For this, he pointed out, it is essential to adequately protect the blood and tissue samples obtained from the detected cases.

The expert pointed out that hepatitis is the rapid inflammation of the liver, which stops working, and although it is the solid organ that regenerates the most, with the acute conditions that have been recognized there must be something that prevents regeneration and that favors fulminant hepatitis.

Kersenobich is a specialist in the study of the liver, in particular the pathophysiology of cirrhosis. He recalled that the hepatitis E virus was discovered in the 1980s; it arose in regions of India and in a locality of Morelos in Mexico. It developed in pregnant women and was later found to also affect adults with type A-like symptoms.

These situations are common in medicine. In the current case there are several possibilities: that it is a new virus, that it is related to covid-19 or that we are talking about an adenovirus.

Kersenobich recalled that there are many types of adenovirus, so it has nothing to do with the vector used in coronavirus vaccines, especially since cases of acute hepatitis of unknown cause have occurred in children, most of whom have not been inoculated against SARS-CoV-2.

Another hypothesis is that it is some alteration in the body’s defense system that would be favoring damage to the liver. We do not know. You have to be open-minded to rule out possible causes of the infection, he noted.

Alejandro Efraín Benítez Herrera, Secretary of Health of Hidalgo, reported that the cause of death of the three-year-old boy from Tulancingo at the La Raza hospital in Mexico City was severe acute hepatitis of unknown cause. The official reported that the diagnosis was confirmed by the National Epidemiological Reference Institute after conducting exhaustive molecular tests that confirmed that it is 100 percent related to that virus.

With information from Juan Ricardo Montoya, correspondent

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