Started 12th Mar, 2020

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?

Most recent answer

28th Feb, 2022
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
6 Recommendations

Popular replies (1)

28th Feb, 2022
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
The following study suggests that higher viral loads of COVID-19 do not necessarily lead to a more severe disease presentation.
6 Recommendations

All replies (13)

10th Apr, 2020
Robert Shour
Arturo Casadevall and Liise-anne Pirofski April 6, 2020 in Bloomberg: It’s Still Hard to Predict Who Will Die From Covid.
They outline 5 factors affecting severity of viral infection:
1) microbial dosage;
2) genetics of host;
3) viral entry route since susceptibility along route can vary;
4) strain of virus;
5) immune status of victim.
25th Apr, 2020
Rajkumar Rajendram
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences
Reducing viral load is likely to be helpful. Do not ingest disinfectant to reduce viral load.
It has been suggested that ingestion of disinfectants may be beneficial to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. DO NOT DO THIS. IT IS HARMFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH.
The above article may be of interest and provide some light relief.
11th May, 2020
Robert Shour
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:
Bio link:
PS. Thanks to BP for bringing this article to my attention.
23rd May, 2020
Alessandro Masciarelli
Telecom Italia
In my preprint paper I propose a systemic approach to calculate the effects of the circulated viral load in the epidemic dynamic evolution: "A systemic model for covid-19 ".
4th Jun, 2020
Mohammed Habes
Yarmouk University
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.
1 Recommendation
11th Jul, 2020
Robert Shour
07 July 2020
Pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2: the knowns and unknowns
Alessandro Sette & Shane Crotty
Nature Reviews Immunology (2020)
From the article: Pre-existing T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 could be relevant because it could influence COVID-19 disease severity.
13th Sep, 2020
Robert Shour
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
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2026913
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.
22nd Sep, 2020
Omran S Habib
University of Basrah
Basic principles of the probability of getting a disease and the severity of disease is that they are related to:
1. Dose of infection
2. Duration of exposure
3. Virulence/toxicity of agent
4.Susceptibility of host
These are expected to apply to the COVID-19 infection
2 Recommendations
1st Oct, 2020
Robert Shour
Science magazine article:
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.‘’
14th Feb, 2022
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
28th Feb, 2022
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
The following study suggests that higher viral loads of COVID-19 do not necessarily lead to a more severe disease presentation.
6 Recommendations

Similar questions and discussions

Is it possible to catch COVID-19 twice?
114 replies
  • Robert ShourRobert Shour
One reason for posting this question is to hope that by following this question it is possible to keep up on developments pertaining to this question.
An article in a health magazine, Stat, by Sharon Begley, Experts envision two scenarios if the new coronavirus isn’t contained, suggests the answer for now is, not sure.
An article in Lancet, Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study, by Prof. Joseph T. Wu, Kathy Leung, and Prof. Gabriel M Leung, remarks in the discussion portion of their paper that `independent self-sustaining human-to-human spread is already present in multiple Chinese cities’ including global transport hubs. This suggests that containing, confining and eliminating COVID-19 as a pervasive and ongoing infectious disease might not be possible.
If infected people do not acquire immunity, that affects calculations of the ongoing spread of COVID-19. For example, if 70% of a population catches COVID-19 and most survive and acquire immunity, then the size of the group that COVID -19 could newly infect would be smaller. In that way, over time, as the number of people who survive the disease increases, the rate of new infections might decline because there would be fewer people without acquired immunity. I wonder what epidemiology says? These issues also affect hopes for a vaccine.
Regardless of what the immunity situation is, it seems to be that there should be a permanent cultural shift away from greetings such as handshakes and kissing.

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