Introduction: It is generally accepted that the higher the viral load of the diagnostic test after infection, the more severe the illness should be.
However, a retrospective study from New York University found that the initial viral load of patients with mild coVID-19 was significantly higher than that of patients with severe coVID-19 requiring hospitalization.
It is generally accepted that the higher the viral load of a diagnostic test after infection, the more severe the illness should be.
However, a retrospective study from New York University found that the initial viral load of patients with mild coVID-19 was significantly higher than that of patients with severe coVID-19 requiring hospitalization.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Pathology, researchers suggest that mild COVID-19 patients in the early stages of the disease are an overlooked infection control population that needs more attention.
This retrospective study was designed to determine the relationship between initial viral load and symptoms and prognosis in novel coronavirus positive patients.
The researchers examined 205 coVID-19 patients treated in the emergency room of a Level-III Medical center in New York City.
Of these patients, 165 had mild symptoms and were not hospitalized, while 40 were hospitalized for treatment due to more severe symptoms.
The researchers found that the initial viral load was significantly higher in non-hospitalized patients than in those who were hospitalized.
This was true even after controlling for age, sex, race, body mass index and comorbidities.

Further studies showed that patients’ initial viral load was not significantly associated with clinical outcomes (including length of hospital stay, need for ventilator, survival time, etc.), but it was significantly negatively associated with symptom duration. The higher the viral load, the shorter the duration of symptoms.
This means that patients with mild COVID-19 in the early stages of the disease have a higher risk of shedding the virus.
The researchers pointed out that the high or low risk of virus shedding is an important consideration in the novel Coronavirus control strategy. The high risk of virus shedding in patients with mild diseases means that they are an important source of infection and an infection control group neglected in the actual epidemic prevention and control strategy.

The researchers said that while their study showed that initial viral load did not appear to predict prognosis, it could serve as an important alternative epidemiological marker for infectivity, allowing hospitals to use viral load indicators to identify highly infectious patients and take more targeted protective measures.

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