Doctors have made a possible breakthrough in dealing with the new coronavirus-linked inflammatory disease that emerged last month when a cluster of cases was identified in Woolwich and one boy,14, died.

The new condition, called paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, emerged last month after hospitals in London admitted over 100 children to intensive care units with symptoms similar to toxic shock mixed with a inflammatory disorder known as Kawasaki disease.

Following a "cluster" of cases in south east London and the death of a 14-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions, the disease has since hit a number of other areas across the UK and the world, including the US.

There are now reports that an eight-month-old baby has died from the Covid-19-linked disease, the youngest UK victim so far.

But doctors have now identified a group of blood compounds that may help to reveal which children are most at risk of developing the rare but life-threatening condition.

Scientific researchers at Imperial College London have analysed blood from some of the worst-affected children and found they had high levels of five different compounds.

Two of the compounds, which can all be measured in routine tests, are markers for inflammation, whilst the others are linked to heart damage and blood clotting.

More research is needed to work out if the markers are reliable, but England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty has granted the researchers permission to recruit children into a European-funded trial called Diamonds.

In Plymouth, eight-month old Alexander Parsons, who reportedly had no underlying health conditions, passed away after being admitted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

The baby suffered a ruptured aneurysm, and was diagnosed with Kawaski disease.

The baby boy died in the arms of his mother, Kathryn Rowlands, 29, who said she will 'never be whole again'.

She told the Mirror: 'I can't believe I carried him for longer than he was alive. I will never be whole again.

'He was my greatest achievement. He could have gone on to do whatever he wanted with his life. Now he'll only ever be eight months old.'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously said: "Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local, state, or territorial health department."

Medical professionals have been made aware of possible links in a small number of cases so that they are able to give children and young people the right care as quickly as possible.

The advice to parents and carers remains the same. If you are worried about your child for whatever reason:

  • contact NHS 111 or your family doctor for urgent advice
  • dial 999 in an emergency
  • if a professional tells you to go to hospital, please go
  • Emergency Departments are open for those who need urgent care.