A new report has given some new insights into an unanswered question about the COVID19 pandemic that has hit the world in 2019. Scientists have said that it is uncertain how many people might have contracted the virus but have never been diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus formally. Health experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have reported that the frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the US last year during spring and summer has been much higher than the official number of cases. The new study has shown that there have been nearly 4.8 undiagnosed cases of COVID19 for every identified case. The figure shows that there have been around 16.8 million undiagnosed cases of COVID19 by July 2020. The authors of the study have said that the data show that there has been a massive spread of the virus during the first six months of the pandemic as compared to what experts have perceived. The outcomes of the new report have been released in the journal called Science Translational Medicine.
Other experts who have not been involved in the study have said that the findings do not show how many undiagnosed cases of COVID19 might be there in the US at present. As per the latest data, the total number of officially diagnosed cases of COVID19 in the US has reached 33.4 million this week. The lead author of the study, Dr. Matthew J Memoli from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said that many people who have contracted the virus that leads to COVID19 might not have any symptoms or have mild symptoms, which is a hallmark of the pandemic. The lead author of the study has said that to count the number of all symptomatic patients of COVID19 in the US it is crucial to assert the effect of the pandemic and public health response. He has said that to have a full and clear picture of the prevalence of COVID19, it needs to count those people who are infected and have not been formally diagnosed with the disease.
The authors of the study have come up with these findings after looking at a representative sample of 8000 people who have not been formally diagnosed with COVID19. They have looked for antibodies for COVID19 in these patients. The study has come at a time when the US government is trying hard to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID19, as a new and more contagious, and deadly Delta variant is circulating in the country. Many past studies have shown that a huge number of cases remains undiagnosed in the US. An expert from Columbia University has claimed that the number of undetected people continues to be many times greater as compared to the number of people who have been diagnosed. Dr. Thomas Tsai, who is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has said that at present there might be much higher levels of disease-induced immunity among people in the US than what experts have been expecting. Health experts have said that still, people should take the shot even if they have infection acquired immunity.