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“British study shows Covid symptoms develop very quickly – after two days of virus exposure” – Miriam Stoppard

dr Miriam Stoppard explains how UK scientists have unearthed a wealth of insight into how quickly Covid infection takes hold in a world-leading challenge study

British scientists have completed a world-leading challenge study on Covid
British scientists have completed a world-leading challenge study on Covid

British scientists have completed a world-leading challenge study on Covid. So what is a challenge study?

It allows doctors to monitor healthy people with Covid throughout the infection, which is not possible with Covid patients.

The study monitored 36 healthy young adults with no immunity to the coronavirus.

Participants aged 18 to 30, unvaccinated against Covid-19 and with no prior infection with the disease, were given a low dose of the virus – introduced via nasal drops – and then carefully monitored in a controlled environment for a two-week period.

They were exposed to the lowest possible dose of virus to cause infection, about the same amount found in a single droplet of nasal fluid when someone was at their most contagious.







The study found that 36 healthy young adults with no immunity to the coronavirus were monitored
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Image:

Maureen McLean/REX/Shutterstock)

The Human Challenge Program is a partnership between Imperial College London, the Vaccine Taskforce, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Royal Free Hospital, London.

The main results showed that symptoms developed very quickly, on average about two days after exposure to the virus.

The infection starts in the throat and peaks after five days – by which time it has become much more common in the nose.

This landmark study at the Royal Free Hospital showed that experimentally infecting volunteers actually mimics real infections and laid the groundwork for future challenge testing of new vaccines and medicines against Covid-19.







The infection begins in the throat and peaks after five days
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Image:

Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock)

For the 18 infected participants, the median time from initial exposure to the virus to virus detection and early symptoms (the incubation period) was 42 hours, significantly shorter than existing estimates of five to six days.

After this period, there was a steep increase in the amount of virus (viral load) found in swabs taken from participants’ noses or throats, peaking after about five days.

There were differences in where most viruses were found. The virus was first detected in the throat, much earlier than the nose (40 hours in the throat versus 58 hours in the nose).

The peak levels of the virus were also significantly higher in the nose than in the throat.

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This indicates a potentially greater risk of virus being shed from the nose than from the mouth – hence the importance of using face masks properly to cover these two areas.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, says: “This important study has provided further key data on Covid-19 and its spread, which is invaluable in learning more about this novel virus so we can refine ours Reply.

“Challenge trials may continue to prove important in the future to accelerate the development of ‘next-generation’ Covid-19 vaccines and antivirals.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/brit-study-shows-covid-symptoms-26624701 "British study shows Covid symptoms develop very quickly - after two days of virus exposure" - Miriam Stoppard

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