People with severe covid-19 can remain infectious for up to 20 days: Study

A review paper suggests that those who have a severe case of covid-19 might be infectious for longer than people with a mild infection.
severe covid-19
A person with severe covid-19 might be infectious for longer. Image courtesy: United Nations via Creative Commons
ANI Published: 25 Oct 2020, 18:59 pm IST
  • 64

Just how bad your case of covid-19 might depend on the severity of the infection. While you can recover from an asymptomatic or mild infection at home, a more severe infection might require hospitalisation—and can lead to serious complications.

In fact, researchers also suggest that people who have a severe case of covid-19 might be infectious for as long as 20 days. On the other hand, whereas, the infection does not last for more than 9 days in people with mild or no symptoms of the virus.

You see, a review of dozens of studies, which was published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, suggests that people may shed virus for prolonged periods.

This is what the findings indicate

“Detection of viral RNA may not correlate with infectivity since available viral culture data suggests shorter durations of shedding of viable virus,” say the authors from the Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon State University.

“Additional data is needed to determine the duration of shedding of viable virus and the implications for risk of transmission,” they added.

The duration of the infectiousness of the virus depends on the severity of the infection. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Even though people can shed virus for a prolonged period of time, the studies we reviewed indicated that live virus, which may predict infectiousness, was only detected up to nine days in people who had mild symptoms,” said study co-author Monica Sikka, MD, assistant professor of medicine (infectious diseases) in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Also read: This low-cost covid-19 test can diagnose you in 20 minutes and is 100% accurate

The researchers identified 77 studies worldwide, including 59 that had been peer-reviewed, and combed through the results. All studies reported assessments of viral shedding using standard methods to identify the virus by replicating it through a process called a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR.

“Although PCR positivity can be prolonged, culture data suggest that virus viability is typically shorter in duration,” the authors added.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


  • 64

Healthshots Wellness Newsletter

Get your Daily Dose of Wellness in your Inbox

Subscribe Now
Next Story