The asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is still an open question, WHO says

Coronavirus infection has created a big threat on the face of humans all over the world. The way the virus transmits from one person to another has been studied cautiously from the beginning. We know that it spreads via infectious droplets when the person sneezes or coughs in the vicinity of the unaffected people. Unlike SARS and MERS, SARS-CoV-2 resides in the upper respiratory tract, so transmission remains uncomplicated and simple.

Young and healthy people who are infected with COVID-19 can be presented without any symptoms or they may experience mild symptoms. Initial evidence proved that the virus could spread from person-person contact even if the carrier didn’t have any symptoms. But recently, a shocking report from WHO says that the transmission of viruses by asymptomatic people is still an open question. They have come to such a conclusion after observing a small set of studies. The study included data from different countries that carried out detailed contact tracing. They traced many asymptomatic patients and found that it was very rare to find secondary infection among their contacts. They also evidenced that people who do not develop symptoms did not play a significant role in passing on the virus to others.

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Dr. Van Kerkhove, the head of WHO, has made the distinction between asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and paucisymptomatic as it is important to know how infection transmits to others. Pre-symptomatic refers to the early stages of an illness before symptoms have developed, whereas asymptomatic refers to having no symptoms throughout an infection. She also added that we could not draw a firm conclusion about the possibility of the spread of the virus by asymptomatic people as the study included only small groups of people.

People with symptoms like sneezing and coughing have a high viral load in their body, which imposes a high chance of infecting other people. Pre-symptomatic people have a considerable amount of virus in their system before the onset of symptoms. While the virus does spread from the people without any symptoms, it is very rare, and also the viral load is reduced. Hence, the government should focus more on detecting and isolating the infected people with symptoms and also tracking the people who have contacted them. If we succeed in doing this, we can make a significant dent in the pandemic.

Source: BBC

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