Coronavirus: Asymptomatic patients ‘carry same amount of virus’

Komal FatimaWeb Editor

07th Aug, 2020. 01:45 pm
Coronavirus: Asymptomatic patients 'carry same amount of virus'

Asymptomatic coronavirus patients can carry as much of the virus as those having symptoms, a new study in South Korea has suggested.

South Korea succeeded in identifying and isolating asymptomatic cases through mass testing at the start of March.

It was found through the evidence that these cases represent a considerable proportion of Covid-19 infections.

People having positive coronavirus tests were examined in a community treatment center. Scientists were then allowed to see how much of the virus was detectable in their nose and throat swabs.

Regular tests were conducted and the patients were allowed to leave once they were negative.

According to the international news agency, results of 1,886 tests suggest people having no symptoms at the time of test, carry the same amount of viral material in their nose and throat as people with symptoms.

It was also found in the study that the virus could be detected in asymptomatic people for significant periods of time, although they appeared to clear it from their systems faster than people with symptoms.

BBC reported that The median time (the number where half of the cases were higher and half were lower) from being diagnosed to receiving a negative test was 17 days in asymptomatic patients and 19.5 days in symptomatic patients.

People having critical conditions were not allowed to be a part of the study due to the nature of the isolation center.
Little data about asymptomatic patients were collected as testing focuses more on people with symptoms. This research provides some data about what they look like in the body.

However, the researchers acknowledged that their study could not “determine the role” that the presence of the virus in asymptomatic patients took part in the transmission.

Asymptomatic patients are less likely to transmit the virus through a cough that will send infected droplets further into the air.

There is “as much virus in their respiratory mucus as someone who has the disease”, says Dr. Simon Clarke, a cellular microbiologist at the University of Reading.

But, he added, “that doesn’t mean they’re spraying as much into the environment”.

He further said that while there was a risk from asymptomatic patients, someone with symptoms who was “coughing and spraying out the virus” was likely to be a higher risk.

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