COVID: How long can you continue to spread the virus if you got sick

Initially, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated a 10-day isolation period for COVID patients, but recently cut that period in half for those without symptoms or fever. However, some experts point out that This time may be insufficient, since you can continue to spread the virus if you fell ill for more than 10 days..

British scientists found that some people can still be contagious after 10 days have passed, as they continue to have “clinically relevant” levels of potentially active virus.

Researchers at the University of Exeter analyzed a group of 176 people and found that 13% of them could remain contagious beyond the suggested period of 10 days of isolation. To do this, they used a test called subgenomic RNA, which gives a positive result if the virus is active, something that cannot be concluded from PCR or antigen tests.

Although testing positive for a subgenomic RNA test does not necessarily indicate that active virus is capable of replicating in another person, the findings of this research suggest that “in some cases, the infectious period may extend beyond the currently imposed 10-day quarantine period“.

Other experts weighed in on the Exeter research, published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Ian Jones, a British professor of virology, told Newsweek that subgenomic RNA may indicate active virus but not necessarily infectious, so the risk pointed out by Exeter is “a theoretical risk that I doubt is as high as they suggest. In the time of Omicron, or Omicron Jr. in the future, when more or less everyone has it eventually, I don’t see much changing, «he explained.

For the most part, the scientific evidence indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can replicate up to 10 days after the onset of symptoms and not much beyond, as long as it is moderate or mild COVID.

«For most COVID-19 patients, efforts to isolate live virus from upper respiratory tract specimens have been unsuccessful when specimens are collected more than 10 days after illness onset,» the CDC says. , even if the period can be extended when people have severe COVID.


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