Upto 45% of Coronavirus infections may be asymptomatic: Study

Based on the study, scientists highlighted the need for contact tracing of infected people and expansive testing to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic


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Upto 45% of Coronavirus infections may be asymptomatic: Study

As much as 45% of the people infected by Coronavirus behind the ongoing pandemic never show symptoms of the infection, according to the review of studies which suggests that the Coronavirus may silently damage the bodies of the asymptomatic individuals.

Scientists including Eric Topol from the Scripps Research Translational Institute in the United States, analysed public datasets on asymptomatic cases.

The Research Paper Published in ACP journal, suggested that assymptomatic cases may account for approximately 40-45% of Coronavirus infections, playing a significant role in the spread of the deadly virus.

Based on the study, scientists highlighted the need for contact tracing of infected people and expansive testing to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The silent spread of the Coronavirus makes it more difficult to handle, said Topol, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and Professor of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research.

Our study highlights the importance of testing. It's clear that with such a high percentage of asymptomatic cases, we need to cast a very wide net, otherwise Coronavirus will continue to evade us, professor added.

In the study, Topol and his team collected data from testing studies on 16 diverse cohorts from around the globe.

The scientists noted in a statement that these informations were collected via keyword searches of PubMed, medRxiv and bioRxiv as well as Google searches of relevant new reports.

They said that analysis also included data on nursing home residents, prison inmates, cruise ship passengers and various other groups.

What virtually all of them had in common was that a very large proportion of COVID-19 infected individuals had no symptoms of the disease, said Daniel Oran, another co-author of the study.

Among more than 3,000 prison inmates in four states who tested positive for COVID-19, 96 percent of them are asymptomatic, Oran said.

According to the research, asymptomatic people are able to transmit the Coronavirus for an extended period of time, perhaps longer than 14 days.

Researchers clearly noted that the viral loads are very similar in people without or with COVID-19 symptoms, but it is still unclear whether their infectiousness is of the same magnitude.

To resolve that issue, scientists said, large scale studies that include sufficient numbers of asymptomatic individuals are needed. The absence of symptoms may not imply an absence of harm, scientists concluded.

Giving an example, scientists said CT scans conducted on COVID-19 infected asymptomatic people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, appeared to show significant lung abnormalities, raising the possibility of Coronavirus silently impacting lung function.

Although the later COVID-19 infected individuals reported no symptoms, some actually had subclinical changes in their lungs. When computed tomography scans for these individuals were examined, 54 per cent cases showed lung opacities, the reserachers mentioned in the study.

The researchers believe that futher research is needed to confirm the potential significance of the findings.

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