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Coronavirus viral load has been declining in US patients since the start of the pandemic, according to a study



Levels of the virus that causes COVID-19 have declined over time in US patients, which could explain the lower number of ICU admissions and overall death rate than when the virus first arrived, the researchers say. .

The study, conducted by researchers at Wayne State University and presented to the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, was based on nasal swabs taken from patients hospitalized in Detroit between April 4 and June 5. They then evaluated all samples tested positive for SARS. -CoV-2 during that time period and found a progressive decline in the number of samples classified as having a high viral load.

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“By the fifth week of the study, 70 percent of the positive samples had low initial viral load,”

; according to a news release. “This trend in initial viral load coincided with a decrease in the death rate. Almost half of the patients in the high viral load group died (45%) compared with 32% and 14% in the intermediate and low viral load categories, respectively. “

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The authors acknowledged that the confounding variables were not taken into account in their observations, but that the results suggest an association between initial viral load and mortality.

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“The exact reasons for an initial viral load decrease over time are unclear,” said Dr. El Zein, lead author of the study. “A downward trend in initial viral load may reflect a reduction in the severity of the pandemic, and trends in viral load values ​​over time may be a marker for assessing the progress of the pandemic. The rapid implementation of social distancing measures, blocking and widespread use of masks may have contributed to a decrease in exposure to the virus. “


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