A new study shows that a reduction in the quarantine period to five days may be too premature and not enough to protect the vulnerable population.

The International Journal of Infectious Diseases on Dec. 7 released results online from their study titled, “Persistence of clinically relevant levels of SARS-CoV2 envelope gene subgenomic RNAs in non-immunocompromised individuals.” Focused on the evaluation between active viral load and the severity of the infection, the study sought to discover active SARS-CoV-2 clearance in patient samples that were stored from COVID-positive patients of the first wave of infection in the United Kingdom.

According to the results, scientists took subgenomic RNA and E-gene genomic sequences from 176 individual samples related to disease severity. Samples were measured by a “retrospective collection” of SARS-CoV-2-positive and confirmed by a PCR test. Viral dynamics were evaluated by the onset of symptoms and the last positive test.

“Whilst E-gene sgRNAs declined before E-gene genomic sequences, some individuals retained sgRNA positivity for up to 68 days,” the results state. “Thirteen percent of sgRNA-positive cases still exhibited clinically relevant levels of virus after 10 days, with no clinical features previously associated with prolonged viral clearance times.”Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “SARS-CoV-2” ChannelNo spam – we promise

Of the individual samples, 74 patients were asymptomatic; 36 were mild and showed symptoms like fever, cough, headache, myalgia, gastrointestinal problems and anosmia; 22 were moderate and showed symptoms like dyspnoea or shortness of breath and oxygen saturation greater than or equal to 94%; 33 were severe and showing symptoms like a respiratory frequency less than or equal to 94%; 11 were critical showing symptoms like respiratory failure or being placed on a ventilator.

“While this is a relatively small study, our results suggest that potentially active virus may sometimes persist beyond a 10-day period, and could pose a potential risk of onward transmission,” Professor Loma Harries and lead investigator of the study told Science Direct. “Furthermore, there was nothing clinically remarkable about these people, which means we wouldn’t be able to predict who they are.”

The average duration of disease for E-gene positive and E-sgRNA positive patients was 7.3 days.

“These results also suggest that, in situations such as hospital inpatient care or patients returning to long-term care facilities following hospital discharge, where (the) onward transmission would be especially problematic, it may be prudent to obtain molecular evidence of remission to protect vulnerable populations,” the study states.

According to the results, LWH and BPL have an interest in SENISCA LTD, “as founders, directors, and as CSO and CTO, respectively.”

The trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Exeter Clinical Research Facility. The NIHR partners with the University of Exeter Medical School College of Medicine and Health and Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. 

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