Wuhan Woman Had No Symptoms Even Though 5 Relatives Developed Covid-19 Pneumonia

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to grow worldwide, there have also been fears that the new coronavirus could spread via asymptomatic individuals.

This would mean the virus will be even harder to contain than expected.

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There now seems to be more proof that this could very well be a possibility.

On Friday (21 Feb), Chinese scientists posted a new study showing how a 20-year-old Covid-19 patient, despite showing no symptoms, had spread the virus to 5 relatives.

Wuhan Covid-19 patient showed no symptoms

According to the study, the woman from Wuhan travelled 675km to the city of Anyang on 10 Jan to visit several relatives. The city of Anyang had no cases of Covid-19 then.

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5 of the relatives she visited – aged 42 to 57 – soon developed a fever and other respiratory symptoms.

They tested positive for Covid-19 around 2 weeks later between 23-26 Jan.

As soon as they tested positive for the virus, the 20-year-old Wuhan resident was isolated and placed under observation.

She initially tested negative for the coronavirus, but a subsequent test confirmed her as a positive case.

Now here’s where things get strange.

Despite testing positive for the virus, the woman did not display any symptoms, even a month after visiting her relatives,

She had no elevated temperature measured or self-reported fever and no gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms, including cough and sore throat, reported or observed by the physicians.

Meanwhile, all 5 of her relatives developed pneumonia — 2 were even considered “severe”.

Study suggests it’s possible to be infected, but not be ill

Dr Schaffner, an expert who was involved in the study, apparently claims this is proof that it is possible to be infected with the virus, but not fall ill.

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What is even more worrisome, is that the study also suggests that it is possible for Covid-19 to spread, even though a patient is not displaying any symptoms.

While more studies would need to be conducted, the fight against the virus “could prove challenging” if similar researches show the same results.

Dr Schaffner states that it is now key to find out the frequency of similar asymptomatic transmissions, and when a patient, during this period, can test positive for the virus.

Hope scientists will soon find the key to defeating Covid-19

If it is indeed possible for a patient to transmit the virus even without displaying symptoms, this could be extremely worrying news.

There is, however, a silver lining amidst this seemingly bad situation, and that is the fact that scientists are discovering new things about the virus every day.

While this latest discovery may not be optimistic, we have no doubts that scientists will one day, through their research efforts, find a key to combatting the virus.

Meanwhile, let’s observe good hygiene by washing our hands with soap often and to seek medical attention immediately should we feel sick.

Featured image adapted from AFP