Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be driving spread, research indicates

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 9:56 AM EDT
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New research indicates that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases are a primary driver of the virus spreading.

Using existing research, scientists have found that silent transmission could be responsible for half of the COVID-19 cases.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that more than one third of these infections would need to be identified and isolated to suppress a future outbreak.

Researchers said even immediate isolation of all symptomatic cases would not be enough to get the spread under control.

This model worked off the theory, gleaned from previous studies, that COVID-19 may be most contagious during the pre-symptomatic stage, which is uncommon for a respiratory infection.

“Our findings highlight the urgent need to scale up testing of suspected cases without symptoms as noted in revised guidelines by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the study said.

Copyright 2020 CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.