The long-term health effects of COVID-19 infection have been a topic of concern for many, particularly those with young children who have respiratory illnesses.

Since respiratory viral infections are known to increase asthma risk in young children, researchers of a new study investigated if contracting the SARS-COV-2 virus could bring in a similar outcome, and determined that no association exists between the two.

"During the early days of the pandemic, we could isolate the effects of COVID-19 from other viruses and follow these patients long enough to observe the onset of asthma. We were also testing so frequently that we had a built-in control group to compare asthma symptoms and whether COVID-19 was a critical factor," first study author James P. Senter said in a news release.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, drew its findings from an extensive retrospective cohort study involving more than 27,000 pediatric patients. The study participants underwent SARS-COV-2 testing via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, with follow-ups extending beyond 18 months.

"The analysis found that testing positive for SARS-COV-2 had no significant effect on the likelihood of a new asthma diagnosis. However, children with known risk factors for developing pediatric asthma, such as race, food allergies, allergic rhinitis (or hay fever), and preterm birth – were more likely to associate with new SARS-COV-2 diagnoses," the news release stated.

The researchers noted that across all pediatric age groups, SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity does not confer an additional risk for asthma diagnosis, at least within the first 18 months after the PCR test.

"This information may be useful for families and providers alike in the prognostication of the long-term respiratory effects after SARS-CoV-2 infection in children," they concluded.

Since the study involved just pediatric participants, more research will be needed to evaluate the patients at different ages and longer intervals to further confirm that there is no link between SARS-COV-2 and the development of asthma.

"This well-powered study reaffirms risk factors we know contribute to asthma development and provides clinically useful information to pediatricians and providers on the absence of risk of developing asthma as a result of COVID-19. We are hopeful that this study will put to rest an outstanding question on the minds of many of their families," senior study author David A. Hill said.