People with Covid-19 are most likely to be highly infectious in the first five days after they develop symptoms, a new study confirms, highlighting the need for abrupt isolation.
The research, published in the Lancet journal, also suggests asymptomatic individuals may clear the virus faster from their body, and might be infectious for a shorter amount of time.
In the first systematic review of its kind, researchers analysed data from 98 previous studies on coronavirus infection transmissions.
They looked at three key factors in the studies:
- Viral load (the amount of the virus detected in the body through the different stages of infection)
- Viral RNA shedding (the length of time someone sheds viral genetic material)
- Isolation of live virus (where the live virus is isolated and tested to see if it can successfully replicate in the laboratory).
The researchers compared their findings on Covid-19 to two other strains of coronavirus, to better understand why Covid-19 has spread so rapidly.