Coronavirus has captured the global headlines. Among the precautionary measures, you would have come across the ’14-day quarantine’ guideline. However, a new study published in The Lancet reports indicates that people infected with Coronavirus can remain infected up to 37 days. The virus has now spread to around 118 countries across the world and more than 1,25,000 people infected.

Key Takeaways:

  • Right since the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, experts suggested an isolation period of 14 days for people who have symptoms, so that they can be monitored and to prevent further spread of infection.
  • However, a new study published in the British Medical Journal The Lancet says people infected with Novel Coronavirus can remain infected up to 37 days. 
  • The study included 191 patients, of which 137 were discharged and 54 died in the hospital. The median duration till which people were found to be infected with the virus was 20 days, whereas the longest duration till which a patient was infected with the virus was 37 days. In non-survivors, the virus remained till death.
  • Co-author of the study, Fei Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences said that these results carry important implications for both patient isolation decision-making and guidance around the length of antiviral treatment.

Virus Infection For A Median Of 20 Days

The study, which was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences included 191 COVID-19 infected patients. Of these, 137 were discharged and 54 died in the hospital, after being infected by the virus. Among these patients, the most common co-morbidity was hypertension, followed by diabetes and heart diseases. It was found that the viral shed within a median of 20 days in the patients, while the longest duration was virus shedding was found to be 37 days. This is against the previous notion of 14 days of isolation, where it was believed that the virus can shed within 14 days.

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“To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest retrospective cohort study among patients with COVID-19 who have experienced a definite outcome,” the authors wrote.

Risk Factors In Adult Patients

Older age is just one of the risk factors in the death of adult patients infected with COVID-19. “We found that older age, higher SOFA [Sequential Organ Failure Assessment] score, and elevated d-dimer [fibrin degradation product] at admission were risk factors for death of adult patients with COVID-19,”  the authors wrote. “The prolonged viral shedding provides the rationale for testing novel coronavirus antiviral interventions in efforts to improve outcomes,” they added.

The study, however, observed patients infected as on or before Jan 31, 2020. The patients being considered for the study were admitted in two designated hospitals in Wuhan, Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital—with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and a definite clinical outcome (death or discharge).

Picture Credit- Getty

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