Porto specialists study period of transmissibility of the new coronavirus

in News · 21-06-2020 18:00:00 · 0 Comments

Infectious disease specialists from the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP) will, during the next six months, try to understand the period of transmissibility of the new coronavirus and the evolution of the patients' immune profile with covid-19.

"What we want to understand is how long the virus is transmissible and this is extremely important because it can make it less time for people to stay in the hospital," said Margarida Tavares, researcher at ISPUP.

Speaking to Lusa, the infectious disease doctor at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, in Porto, stressed that it is “extremely relevant” to develop a longitudinal study to find answers to this question, since it is not known how long the virus “stays in the body”.

"As soon as we know that a person does not reinfect and we know how long he is able to infect, it is a gigantic advance", he stressed.

The project, developed under the 2nd edition of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) financing line, 'RESEARCH 4 COVID-19', in addition to the transmissibility period for SARS-CoV-2, will also focus on the evolution of the immunological profile of patients with covid-19.

Through serial sampling of samples, the more than 20 researchers involved in the project will quantify the viral load in respiratory secretions, culture viruses, determine a series of inflammatory markers and titrate antibodies by class, in order to understand “when is that antibodies from the igM class (which indicates recent infection) to the igG class occur”.

"We will follow these patients over time, to understand all these dynamics, both in our response and in the way the virus behaves in the face of this response and in our production of antibodies," said Margarida Tavares.

According to the infectious disease specialist, the team of researchers, who intend to analyze the data according to the severity of the disease, will monitor "four different groups of individuals" for two to three months.

“It all depends on what we have in terms of numbers. We had proposed to evaluate 30 inpatients, whether in nursing, intermediate or intensive care, 20 symptomatic patients in outpatient clinics, 10 asymptomatic infected and following 60 exposed in order to find, between 15 to 30 percent of people who are going to be positive”, he explained.

Financed at 40,000 Euros, this is one of 55 projects supported by the 2nd edition of the ‘RESEARCH 4 COVID-19’ line, which aims to meet the needs of the National Health Service and that in its 1st edition support 66 projects.

In addition to ISPUP, the project also integrates researchers from the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) of the University of Porto and public health agents from the Northern Regional Health Administration (ARS-Norte).


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