COVID-19

COVID-19: Older people could be contagious longer | Coronavirus

We grew the first virus in Canada, proudly explains Dr. Hugues Charest, head of the molecular biology sector at the Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec.

grow a virus it means taking samples from positive COVID-19 tests to check, among other things, how long the virus multiplies in cells. The results suggest that contagion ceases after 10 days. These studies conducted around the world have influenced the duration of isolation of patients, but they have also surprised Dr. Yves Longtin, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital.

One of the difficulties with these studies is that they recruited relatively young participants. The average age is between 35 and 50 years.

Dr. Longtin was concerned that the elderly, however, are contagious for more than 10 days when they get the flu, given their weak immune system. Therefore, the Montreal Jewish General Hospital has recruited 22 patients aged 80 and over to check if COVID-19 is still present on the 10th.

Surprised for the results

We were very surprised! When we are in the order of 12 out of 22 still contagious, we realize that something is possibly going on. is a sign. It was expected, according to previous studies, that 99% were no longer contagious by the tenth day after the onset of symptoms. […] It suggests that scientists have assumed that older people are just as contagious as younger people, although they may be that way for longer., lies Dr. Longtin.

According to his colleague, Dr. Hugues Charest, now we know the potential danger that can be caused by an elderly person who is sick for more than 10 days. We now know on paper that 50% of these people are still infectious., he adds.

Dr. Longtin and his team are launching an international call for scientists to validate this research with other samples. Questions arise: Are the elderly still contagious for 12 days, 15 days, 20 days? We will have to do another study where we will follow patients longitudinally and test them at various times to be able to determine when they are no longer contagious.

Quebec is not in a position to do so, as most older people are now vaccinated, which will influence the results.

Therefore, public health organizations may have underestimated the contagiousness of older people during the pandemic. Perhaps, without knowing it, we had patients in long-term care centers who had COVID for 10 days and we lifted their isolation because we followed the recommendations., continues Dr. Yves Longtin.

Thus, their study could help provide some answers to surveys aimed at explaining the carnage that occurred in CHSLDs in Quebec during the first wave.

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