More than half of the people infected with the variant Omicron of coronavirus he does not know he has caught the virus. A study on the Covid ‘submerged’ which thus proposes a new estimate on how many real infections may have been with the new variant. An ‘army’ of unaware infected people who have continued to live a normal life as positives for various reasons: why asymptomatic or why they have underestimated the symptoms which occur in mild form. The work published on Jama Network Open was conducted by researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Usa.
Among those who were infected, “more than one in two (56%) did not know they had been infected. Awareness will be the key to enabling us to move beyond this pandemic, ”he explained Susan Chengdirector of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Cardiology Department of the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and corrisponding author of study. Previous research has already estimated that at least 25% – and possibly up to 80% – of people infected with the coronavirus may not experience symptoms. Compared to other variants of Sars-CoV-2, the scientists write, Omicron is associated with generally less severe symptoms which can include fatigue, cough, headache, sore throat or runny nose. “The results of our studies add to the evidence that undiagnosed infections can increase the transmission of the virus“, He observes Sandy Y. Joung of Cedars-Sinai and first author of the study. “A low level of awareness of the infection probably contributed to the rapid spread of Omicron.”
As part of research on the effects of Covid and the impact of vaccines, researchers began collecting blood samples from healthcare workers more than two years ago. In the fall of 2021, just before the start of the surge in the Omicron variant, researchers expanded enrollment to include patients, thanks to the study infrastructure and with the support of Sapient Bioanalytics. Among the healthcare professionals and patients who participated in the research, the scientists identified 2,479 people who had provided blood samples just before or after the start of the Omicron wave and identified 210 people who were likely infected with Omicron based on the levels. most recently positive for antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 in the blood.
Next, the researchers invited study participants to provide health status updates through surveys and interviews. Only 44% of those who had recently positive Sars-CoV-2 antibodies were aware that they were infected with the virus. The majority (56%) were unaware of any recent Covid infections. Of the study participants who were unaware, only 10% reported having recently had symptoms, attributed to a common cold or another type of infection.
According to the researchers, more studies involving more people from different ethnicities and communities are needed to learn what specific factors are associated with the lack of awareness of the infection. “But we hope that people will read these results” because “the more we understand our risks, the better we protect public health and ourselves,” concludes Cheng.