Viral load 1,000 times higher in people infected with Delta

Health experts have warned that the viral load is roughly 1,000 times higher in people infected with the Delta variant than those infected with the original coronavirus strain.

Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the Sri Jayewardenepura University said that based on the study conducted in China superspreading events are likely to infect more people.

According to the study, daily sequential PCR testing of the quarantined subjects indicated the viral load of the first positive test of Delta infections was 1000 times higher than that of the 19A/19B strains infections back in the initial epidemic wave of 2020.

This suggested the potential faster viral replication rate and more infectiousness of the Delta variant at the early stage of the infection.

The 126 high-quality sequencing data and reliable epidemiological data indicated some minor intra-host single nucleotide variants (iSNVs) could be transmitted between hosts and finally fixed in the virus population during the outbreak.

The minor iSNVs transmission between donor-recipient contribute at least 4 of 31 substitutions identified in the outbreak suggesting some iSNVs could quickly arise and reach fixation when the virus spread rapidly.

The study notes that disease control measures, including the frequency of population testing, quarantine in pre-symptomatic phase and enhancing the genetic surveillance should be adjusted to account for the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant at global level.

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