Science

Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients have higher viral loads than symptomatic patients: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 30, 2020 Published on November 30, 2020

‘A significant decrease in viral load was observed with increasing disease severity’

A team of researchers examined six different samples of Covid-19 positive patients to determine the link between the infection course and the coronavirus viral load.

The study, published in the journal Infection, showed that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients have greater viral loads than those with symptoms.

Study design

For the study, the researchers collected nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, oral cavity, rectal, saliva, urine, and blood samples from patients who were hospitalised due to Covid-19.

A total of 360 samples from 60 patients were obtained upon admission. Of these, 25 per cent did not have symptoms, while 75 per cent were symptomatic.

The Public Health Institute of Turkey Virology Reference and Research Laboratory analysed the samples.

Findings

The researchers found that viral loads of asymptomatic patients were higher compared with symptomatic patients. Further, the viral load had a negative trend with increasing age, while a significant decrease in viral loads was seen with increasing disease severity.

“This study demonstrates that asymptomatic patients have higher SARS-CoV-2 viral loads than symptomatic patients, and unlike in the few studies in the literature, a significant decrease in viral load was observed with increasing disease severity,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

“Covid-19 is a complicated puzzle with pieces of many colours and shapes. Further, virologic and immunological studies are urgently needed to put all the pieces together and see the big picture,” the researchers added.

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Published on November 30, 2020
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