People are trying to fight the COVID-19 pandemic all around the globe, and researchers found out an interesting thing about the virus.
People who are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus will test positive for the virus before and after they have symptoms. However, a new study showed that people are contagious before they have the symptoms, and in the first week since they get sick.
The virus was isolated from 17% of nose and throat swabs and in more than 83% of phlegm samples.
Patients from the study produced thousands to millions of viruses in their noses and throats, with 1000 times as much produced in SARS patients. This massive load of viruses explains why the new virus is so infectious.
Eight days of symptoms later, researchers could still find the genetic material of the virus in patients’ samples, but they were not able to find infectious viruses. They found some hints that the antibodies made by the immune system against SARS-CoV-2 are killing the viruses.
Ali Khan, dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska, stated: “Some of it is discouraging news because when you are mildly [ill] or just [getting] sick, you’re putting out a whole lot of virus, which explains why we see so much transmission within our communities.”
But we come with good news, as well. After about ten days, you’re probably not infecting people anymore. Also, people with mild or asymptomatic infections don’t “share” the virus that much and are unlikely to infect as many people like others with severe cases do.
The patients were put through tests every morning while they were in the hospital. The doctors collected blood, urine, stool, nasal, and throat swabs. They did not know when it was the perfect time to discharge them. The only sample in which they found the virus was in feces.