How much work do we have to put in, to minimize the danger of our kids coming down with COVID-19? And how much more aggro do we have to endure, to get this thing over with? America is experiencing pandemic fatigue, which is just too bad, because although we may be ready to move on to a new phase of life, coronavirus is not about to release us from its jaws.
What needs to be done? To get well, people need all kinds of help. But what does recovery mean? The absence of symptoms? Because some patients never have symptoms. So how may they be said to recover? But despite their lack of symptoms, they can be prolific spreaders of the virus.
For the purpose of his article for Medium.com, neurobiologist Shin Jie Yong decided to address virus clearance, or the absence of viral debris, which means the test is negative. Sometimes, it takes a long while to get there. He writes,
Published reports are now saying that positive diagnosis status for SARS-CoV-2 can last for months, despite being symptomless.
The author mentions a woman whose symptoms were gone after three weeks, but who has continued to shed the virus for two months. In many cases, it’s almost as if the body and the virus negotiate a detente. The virus allows the human to live, and the human becomes the equivalent of a toy plastic candy dispenser, generously sharing the virus with one and all. Yong writes,
The fact that her symptoms did not relapse means that her immune system is not in a pro-inflammatory mode to stop the virus replication.
The virus might stick around because the person’s system is slacking off:
Researchers then found that those with slower virus clearance had milder symptoms and lower antibody levels. An ineffective antibody immune response could, therefore, lead to persistent and mild Covid-19 infection.
A person can test negative, and then three days later, test positive again — “a recrudescence, rather than a new infection.” In other words, to evade testing the virus can go underground, probably hiding out in the salivary glands. Next thing you know, supposedly cured patients wind up back in the hospital, sick from the same replicated virus, not from its cousin.
This is known as a persistent infection. But is this victim still contagious? The answer is a resounding “maybe.” Yong writes,
A positive result from the RT-PCR test does not ascertain if one is contagious or not. The detected genetic material could just be non-infectious remnants or leftovers following clinical recovery.
And whatever happens after that is anybody’s guess. The author observes that vaccine creation is difficult because COVID-19 affects different people differently. There is no guarantee that long-term immunity is obtainable, and universal immunity is pretty much out of the question.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “The Covid-19 Virus Can Persist for Months: Why?,” Medium.com, 06/14/20
Image by Kenneth Lu/CC BY 2.0