Coronavirus may remain active for longer than recommended quarantine: Study
Several people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may spread it for longer than the prescribed quarantine period, even if they don't show any symptoms throughout the infection's final stage, a study has claimed. The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, was conducted on 38 Brazilian patients, who were observed every week between April and November 2020,
- The study comes at a time when several countries have reduced the quarantine period to five or seven days.
- Since its inception in 2019, COVID-19 has infected more than 375 million people and claimed the lives of over 5.6 million people worldwide.
- The current global pandemic is being led by the Omicron, a severely mutated and extremely contagious variant of the virus.
"Of the 38 cases we tracked, two men and a woman were atypical. The virus was continuously detected in their organism for more than 70 days," said one of the authors of the research Marielton dos Passos Cunha. Cunha added that 8% of infected individuals can spread the virus for two months, "without necessarily manifesting any symptoms during the final stage of the infection."
The researchers sought to see if a 14-day timeframe was long enough for the virus to stop being detectable, and they found that it was not the case. "It can take a month for a patient to test negative, and in some cases included in our study, the patients remained positive for 71 to 232 days," said Paola Minoprio, principal investigator for the study.
The discovery serves as a warning about the dangers of limiting COVID-19 patients' isolation to seven, ten, or even fourteen days after testing positive, as originally recommended by procedures to battle the disease, said researchers. It also emphasizes the importance of social isolation, vaccination, and mask use, they added. Notably, the quarantine period was brought down to 5 days in the United States recently.
In terms of viral activity duration, there was no significant difference between men and women, with averages of 22 and 33 days respectively. In the atypical cases, the virus was detected for 71 days in a woman and 81 days in a man. Another man tested positive for coronavirus for 232 days before testing negative by RT-qPCR three times, said researchers.
Currently, there are 73,046,701 infected patients worldwide, including 93,736 who are in critical condition. The total number of global deaths due to the virus stands at 5,682,192. The daily cases dropped to 2,084,890 on January 30 from 3,688,237 on January 27. The United States reported the highest number of cases (75,578,076) on Monday, followed by India (41,302,440) and Brazil (25,351,489).