The full article is posted on Medium here:
Why Peak Viral Load makes temperature screening alone insufficient for COVID-19
And how South Korea and Taiwan’s approach to diagnosis and tracking is leading to positive results
By now, the sight of people wearing surgical masks, flinching at the sights and sounds of someone coughing or sneezing, governments restricting large gatherings, and sports leagues suspending or cancelling matches is familiar across the world.
Even though this newest coronavirus we now call COVID-19 is not the deadliest disease as measured by daily deaths, the concern over the outbreak is forcing urgent actions.
One of the core concerns is limiting how quickly the virus can spread. Having too many people require urgent care can overwhelm healthcare systems. This anxiety has led to a call to ‘flatten the curve’ to avoid this challenge.
The approach to implement protective measures includes a mix of policy decisions, use of technology, proven clinical tools, and rapid responses to conditions that are rapidly changing. If you ask any entrepreneur or innovator, the key to achieving successful solutions is to understand ‘what problem are you trying to solve?’. In this COVID-19 pandemic, three pain points stand out requiring wide-scale attention:
1. How to identify COVID-19 positive carriers within a large group of people?
2. How to manage the health of people either in a home quarantine or in a hospital setting?
3. How can new data quickly be aggregated and shared to develop new insights for prevention, care, and vaccine development?
In this article, we’ll explore the challenge currently dominating news headlines globally: how to identify positive carriers of the virus. Let’s start by reviewing how COVID-19 actively spreads.
The link between “Peak Viral Load” and transmitting the virus
In 2003, SARS spread across Asia and left an indelible memory on people working in clinical settings, policymakers, and families. SARS also created a baseline virus profile which can compared with COVID-19. Researchers from Johns Hopkins recently published an article comparing the two viruses. The results from both this study and information shared by a panel of experts from a recent webinar by WuXi NextCODE uncovered one crucial difference: the timing of the Peak Viral Load — the maximum concentration of the virus, versus Peak Symptom Strength — the period where a person experiences the most substantial effects of the virus.
In SARS, the peak Viral Load occurred at about the same time as the peak period of symptom strength.
In COVID-19, the peak Viral Load occurs days before any symptoms may show up.
Current data is showing that individuals can have COVID-19 without showing symptoms during the first 5 days, AND this may also be when individuals are most infectious.
Continue the article on Medium here.
This article was also covered by The Healthcare Blog here.