What Does Asymptomatic COVID-19 Look Like Under the Surface?
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The clinical features and immune responses of asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 have not been well described. Researchers studied 37 asymptomatic individuals in the Wanzhou District who were diagnosed with RT–PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections but without any relevant clinical symptoms in the preceding 14 d and during hospitalization.

Asymptomatic individuals were admitted to the government-designated Wanzhou People’s Hospital for centralized isolation in accordance with policy. The median duration of viral shedding in the asymptomatic group was 19 d. The asymptomatic group had a significantly longer duration of viral shedding than the symptomatic group.

The virus-specific IgG levels in the asymptomatic group were significantly lower relative to the symptomatic group in the acute phase. Of asymptomatic individuals, 93.3% and 81.1% had reduction in IgG and neutralizing antibody levels, respectively, during the early convalescent phase, as compared to 96.8% and 62.2% of symptomatic patients.

Forty percent of asymptomatic individuals became seronegative and 12.9% of the symptomatic group became negative for IgG in the early convalescent phase. In addition, asymptomatic individuals exhibited lower levels of 18 pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

These data suggest that asymptomatic individuals had a weaker immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The reduction in IgG and neutralizing antibody levels in the early convalescent phase might have implications for immunity strategy and serological surveys.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0965-6
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