Science

Thousands of undetected cases during the initial stage of Covid-19 in China, US: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 15, 2020

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A new study had made a startling revelation about the initial stage of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, and Seattle in the United States.

The study stated that there were thousands of undetected caseloads of the virus way before the lockdown was imposed in the countries.

Researchers from The University of Texas (UT) at Austin in the US also noted in their study that the arrival of the first case of the novel coronavirus in the US goes back to as early as Christmas

The study, published in the journal EClinicalMedicine and Lancet, also maintained that one-third of the undetected cases were among children.

Findings

The researchers estimated the far-reaching extent of coronavirus based on re-tested throat swabs taken from patients who were suffering from influenza-like illnesses during January in Wuhan and during late February and early March in Seattle.

The authors of the study said that most of the swab tests turned out to be flu. However, some were tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2.

“Even before we realized that Covid-19 was spreading, the data imply that there was at least one case of Covid-19 for every two cases of flu,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor at UT Austin.

“Since we knew how widespread flu was at that time, we could reasonably determine the prevalence of Covid-19 ”, Meyers said.

According to Zhanwei Du, a postdoctoral researcher in Meyers’ lab and first author on the study, given that Covid-19 appears to be overwhelmingly mild in children, the high estimate for symptomatic pediatric cases in Seattle suggests that there may have been thousands more mild cases at the time.

“We can go back and piece together the history of this pandemic using a combination of investigative techniques and modeling,” Meyers said.

“This helps us understand how the pandemic spread so quickly around the globe and provides insight into what we may see in the coming weeks and months,” she said.

Published on August 15, 2020

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