One in ten COVID-19 patients could be infectious even after 10 days

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Jan 18, 2022, 07:02 PM IST

Experts say that everyone is different in their ability to clear a virus from the body (representative image). Photograph:(The New York Times)

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One in ten people may still be infectious for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after the 10 day quarantine period, according to a study.

Researchers in the United Kingdom discovered that even after a 10-day quarantine, some people who get SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can still transmit the infection to others.

The test identifies live virus levels and was used on people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 using a traditional PCR test.

After 10 days, 13 percent of the 176 participants still had "clinically relevant" levels of live virus, with some demonstrating substantial levels for up to 68 days.

They believe this new test should be applied in settings where people are vulnerable to COVID-19 to stop the spread of the disease.

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"While this is a relatively small study, our results suggest that potentially active viruses may sometimes persist beyond a 10 day period, and could pose a potential risk of onward transmission," said Professor Lorna Harries, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who oversaw the study.

Furthermore, there was nothing clinically remarkable about these people, which means we wouldn't be able to predict who they were, Harries said.

The presence of viral pieces is tested using traditional PCR techniques.

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These tests can indicate if someone has had the virus lately, but they can't tell if it's still active and the individual is contagious.

The test employed in the latest study, on the other hand, only yields a positive result when the virus is active and possibly transmittable. 

"In some settings, such as people returning to care homes after illness, people continuing to be infectious after ten days could pose a serious public health risk," said study lead author Merlin Davies, of the University of Exeter Medical School.

"We may need to ensure people in those settings have a negative active virus test to ensure people are no longer infectious," Davies added. 

(With inputs from agencies)