The Compound Eye – COVID-19: Transmission, Testing and The Chinese Information Puzzle

Pre-symtomatic transmission of COVID19 

A growing body of research suggests that infected individual are contagious for 1-3 days before they show symptoms:

A recent study demonstrates people with coronavirus infections may be most contagious one to two days before they start to feel ill.

The original research: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0869-5

A similar study submitted to MedRxiv in March:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.05.20030502v1

The CDC also put out evidence that pre-symptomatic transmission can occur:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6914e1.htm

(Read more)

Pooled Testing and Antibody Rapid tests 

Pooled testing: 

The ICMR has advised pooling of samples in areas with low prevalence of COVID-19 (initially using proxy of low positivity of <2%) from the existing data.

If you find out if the 2% is based on population at ward, city or district level, please let me know. Also given our current low levels of testing, how accurate would our assessment of low prevalance be? 

Pool testing for COVID has been tried by researchers in Israel, Germany and US.

This methodology has been widely used for detection of malaria and HIV, but more research is required for its use for COVID 19 detection in India.

Antibody rapid testing kits:

India has received rapid antibody testing kits from China – these kits are supposed to be cheaper and less time consuming than RT PCR kits.  (Read more)

China’s role in hiding the virus 

Conspiracy theories for the origin of the virus have been doing the rounds for a while now. But there has been renewed interest globally over whether the virus actually originated in a lab in Wuhan and not the seafood market as originally suspected. There are doubts that China may have been opaque with the origins and extent of the viral outbreak. Today, China revised its coronavirus death toll in Wuhan, increased it by 50%.

Europe Is Taking a Harder Look at China After Virus Suspicions – Bloomberg

“European governments struggling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic are hardening their positions toward China as suspicions grow over the level of transparency in the coronavirus’s country of origin. (Read more)