By Tara Rippin • 02 April 2020 • 19:06
Researchers from clinical departments Charite in Berlin and Schwabing in Munich, in collaboration with the German Army Institute of Microbiology, have determined that patients are no longer contagious when samples extracted from the nasopharyngeal area (at the base of the skull above the roof of the mouth) and the fluids expelled when coughing present less than 100,000 traces of the genome of the new coronavirus.
The results of the study have been published in Nature magazine, and reveal that in the first days of Covid-19 infection, it appears concentrated only in the nose and mouth.
In most cases, the researchers say the viral load in the pharynx has decreased significantly after the first week of the disease. In the lung, this occurs a bit later.
Roman Wölfel, director of the German Army’s Microbiology Institute, explained that eight days after presenting the first symptoms, experts were no longer able to isolate infectious particles in patients, although they still detected copies of the new coronavirus genome in the pharynx as well as in the lungs.
“The high viral load in the pharynx immediately after the first symptoms suggests that patients with the virus are soon infected, even before they realise they are sick,” said Roman Wölfel, adding that “this provides very valuable information when deciding when a patient can be discharged, a decision that medical teams make under immense pressure.”
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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