COVID-19 patients without symptoms shed just as much virus as those with symptoms

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

Case study: A study involving observations of a single patient or group of patients.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

South Korean and Canadian scientists measured how much virus was shed by 303 COVID-19 patients, 193 of whom had symptoms, and 110 of whom didn't, and say both groups were shedding a similar amount of virus. Isolation of asymptomatic patients as well as those who show symptoms may be necessary to control the spread of the disease, they conclude.

Journal/conference: JAMA Internal Medicine

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3862

Organisation/s: Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, South Korea

Funder: Soonchunhyang University Research Fund.

Media release

From: JAMA

Molecular Viral Shedding Among Asymptomatic, Symptomatic Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection

What The Study Did: SARS-CoV-2 molecular viral shedding in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients who were isolated in a community treatment center in South Korea is quantitatively described in this observational study.


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