What does all this mean: The findings come with the caveat that they were drawn from a small pool of volunteers and they were published in a preprint that has not yet been peer-reviewed. However, they provide useful information. The fact that people get infected so quickly and remain contagious for so long suggests that recommended isolation periods should be around 10 days. While the virus was first found in the throat, it ended up being present in much greater amounts in the nose, highlighting the need to wear face masks properly to cover the nose.
Get tested: The study also supports the regular and widespread use of lateral flow testing. Modeling using study data showed that regular rapid tests can diagnose an infection before 70–80% of the infectious virus is created, meaning that if people are regularly tested and isolated if positive, this could significantly reduce community transmission. The fact that none of the participants became seriously ill also suggests that this test method could be used to test future options or drugs.
Michael Jacobs, infectious disease consultant at London’s Royal Free Hospital, where the study was conducted, said in a statement: “The trial has already provided some interesting new insights into SARS-CoV-2 infection, but perhaps its biggest contribution is to open up a new way to study infection and immune responses in detail and help test new vaccines and treatments.”