Does reducing COVID-19 viral load ameliorate severity of infection?
There is a concept of viral load.
Viral load has been considered in connection with HIV (Impact of viral load and the duration of primary infection on HIV transmission: systematic review and meta-analysis, 2014, Blaser et al.).
In another context, a 2010 article by several authors, DeVincenzo et al, Viral Load Drives Disease in Humans Experimentally Infected with Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Page 1312 of the report mentions “the potential clinical effectiveness derived by achieving a robust reduction in viral load through antiviral compounds."
Is it possible that how much virus there is affects how serious a disease results on being infected by COVID-19? If that were so, then in addition to isolating COVID-19 cases to inhibit transmission, it might be possible to inhibit severity of the disease by reducing viral load.
Is there research on this? If not, should there be?
Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He posted a review that includes remarks on how increased exposure to virus particles increases risk. Well worth a look.
After posting this today, and the link, I noticed that Dr. Bromage gives some biographical information, and I am adding that link following the link to his article, so readers can better assess his post:
Experimental and preclinical observations made during prior attempts to develop vaccines against respiratory viruses suggest that some vaccine formulations may trigger undesirable responses. Some of these responses may be cell mediated while others may be triggered by antibodies.
Facial Masking for Covid-19 — Potential for “Variolation” as We Await a Vaccine
by Monica Gandhi, M.D., M.P.H., and George W. Rutherford, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine September 8, 2020
From the article:
If the viral inoculum matters in determining the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, an additional hypothesized reason for wearing facial masks would be to reduce the viral inoculum to which the wearer is exposed and the subsequent clinical impact of the disease.
One number could help reveal how infectious a COVID-19 patient is. Should test results include it? By Robert F. Service, Sep. 29, 2020
From the article:
``... testing centers should report not just whether a person is positive, but also a number known as the cycle threshold (CT) value, which indicates how much virus an infected person harbors. Advocates point to new research indicating that CT values could help doctors flag patients at high risk for serious disease.‘’
The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 had become predominant globally by November 2021.
We evaluated transmission dynamics and epidemiological characteristics of the Delta variant in an outbreak in southern China.
Data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and their close contacts were retrospectively collected from the outbreak that occur...
The epidemiological advantage of Omicron variant is evidenced by its rapid spread and the ability to outcompete prior variants. Among Omicron sub-lineages, early outbreaks were dominated by BA.1 while BA.2 has gained dominance since February 2022. The relative pathogenicity and transmissibility of BA.1 and BA.2 have not been fully define...