21 July — Viral levels could help to target treatment
Onya Opota and his colleagues at Lausanne University Hospital analysed the viral load — the amount of virus in a standard volume of material — of samples taken from 4,172 people infected with SARS-CoV-2 between 1 February and 27 April (D. Jacot et al. Preprint at medRxiv ▻http://doi.org/d4b8; 2020). They noticed two distinct stages of COVID-19. Early in the disease, people have high viral loads, which tend to decline gradually as the disease progresses. This later stage is typically characterized by inflammation. The decline of viral loads could thus serve as a cue to start treating infected people with anti-inflammatory drugs.
But the researchers found no correlation between viral load and the severity of disease, suggesting that it is not a good predictor of a patient’s outcome. The research has not yet been peer reviewed.