Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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HomeCOVID-19On CoViD-19: "You might have it and not know it"

On CoViD-19: “You might have it and not know it”

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Asymptomatic and pre-asymptomatic CoViD-19 patients can still spread the virus.

World-renowned vaccinologist and SARS-CoV-2 expert Dr. Melvin Sanicas said this in his Facebook post as he clarified that, contrary to what others believe, asymptomatic or presymptomatic CoViD-19 patients can still spread the disease.


It can be recalled that earlier, health Secretary Francisco Duque said the World Health Organization indicated that there is no evidence of asymptomatic transmission of CoViD-19.

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Clashing statements from health authorities also led to the debate of asymptomatic patients and presymptomatic patients and their possibility of transmission.

“They can all spread the virus,” Sanicas said of patients with varying degrees of symptom manifestation.

Sanicas, who is among those doing research on SARS-CoV-2 said the way the virus manifests itself varies from person to person, making “asymptomatic” cases very “challenging” to discuss.

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Sanicas clarified that pre-symptomatic phase is the period between initial infection and the manifestation of symptoms which takes five to 14 days.

These symptoms can range from “mild to extremely dangerous”.

This distinguishes them from true asymptomatic cases, who manifest no signs and symptoms throughout the duration of the infection.

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“There are COVID19 cases who are truly asymptomatic throughout the duration of the infection and there are people who are pre-symptomatic — those who initially have no symptoms but show some symptoms eventually,” he said.

There are others who do not show the “classic symptoms” of fever, tiredness, dry, cough, loss of smell and taste but just feel “unwell” or “kinda crappy” or just “not in the mood” but actually have COVID-19.

“Regardless of the “group” they’re in, it’s important to emphasize that they can all spread the virus (although we still do not know for sure whether they spread it as efficiently as people with obvious symptoms),” he said.

This means, he said, that people could be infected and not know it.

“Once you start showing symptoms and try to quarantine or isolate yourself, it is too late to prevent spread,” he warns.


Sanicas also confirmed that there is enough accumulated evidence to estimate the true asymptomatic rate is around 40 percent.

“Even without knowing the exact numbers, we can safely assume that transmission from people without symptoms contributes to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 around the world,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of public health campaigns especially on the importance of physical distancing, wearing a mask when outside the home, washing hands properly and frequently and avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby, and close contact settings.

“Universal mask wearing is best tool to limit transmission, and there is evidence to back that idea up,” he added.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.
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