Omicron, how many days can positives infect? The difference with Delta is the viral load

While the health authorities are scrambling to find the square not to block the country by isolating and quarantining all those who test positive, a new study that comes from United Kingdom confirms the unpredictability of the virus in spreading if left unleashed. According to researchers at the University of Exeter, in fact, some positive subjects can be infectious even after 10 days. The number of cases examined in the study is actually not high, but the researchers’ confirmation is still a signal that should not be underestimated: out of 176 infected subjects, 13 percent were potentially infectious even after 10 days. To make the difference, as virologists know by now, is obviously the viral load present and therefore the ability of the virus to replicate and infect if it does not find any barrier, starting with the masks.

Omicron, after how many days is the viral load peak? Symptoms and incubation (shorter than the other variants)

The question of viral load

«This is an interesting study – underlines Roberto Cauda, director of Infectious Diseases of the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome – although we must specify that the sample cited by scholars refers to 2020, when a very different virus was circulating than it is now. Evidently, it is an assessment made in the absence of vaccinated people. Let’s remember, then, that the Omicron variant has a much shorter incubation, that is three days ». But the question of the potentially infecting viral load still remains of primary importance today to understand how to limit the circulation of SARS cov 2. «Right from the start, my virologist colleagues – continues Cauda – emphasized this issue. This is why we must maintain the need to quantize the replication cycles, that is, to say whether there is a lot or a little virus. In short, the English study is a further warning to be even more rigorous in adopting safety measures, given that we do not know in which subjects there may be a high viral load. Beyond the quarantines, it is therefore one more reason to be very cautious in avoiding gatherings. We remind you to use the ffp2 masks where necessary “.

The quarantine

Think about the duration of the forty without taking into account the contagiousness of individuals, even if we are in the presence of new variants, it could therefore be counterproductive. “We need to see what is the epidemiological dimension of the progress of the virus – Fabrizio specifies I pray, researcher of General and Applied Hygiene at the University of Milan – That is, if the problem of infectivity after 10 days concerns a few cases, there is also a risk. We must keep in mind, in fact, that there is always a variability of the statistical data, it is not a parameter that has a dry value. So, we have to see what the proportion and probability of these cases is. I repeat, it is a risk that we know, but that we run in practice ».

In short, experts try to find a balance, despite the unpredictability of the virus. “We knew that we can be infectious for a long time from the beginning and then they saw it with repeated tests – recalls Carlo Signorelli, Professor of Hygiene of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan – We have a small number of subjects who it does not negativize itself for several weeks. This phenomenon occurred in the unvaccinated, therefore before the prophylaxis on the population at a global level. So much so that the proposed discount, as for example we did yesterday in Lombardy, is to go out in 10 days without testing; but this discount is limited to vaccinated people, who would be less likely to infect in the long term ”. The dilemma for health authorities is not easy to solve. Having all the positives shut down at home essentially means stopping or slowing down most of the activities. “We must be aware that at the moment we have 2 million infected blocked – warns Signorelli – The essential services are in crisis. We must find a way to be able to take some small risks, and bring these people back to the community as soon as possible and without too many constraints. But we must do it with great prudence ».


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