Healthy Friends are Most Dangerous COVID-19 Shedders

Watch out for anybody without symptoms, research says.

How Virus is Transmitted

How Virus is Transmitted

Coronavirus is most contagious before and during the first week of symptoms, which is why people who look healthy may be most dangerous.

People stop making infectious virus once the body’s antibody response kicks in about six to twelve days after the infection.

A small study of nine persons who became infected in Germany reveals that the highest period of contagion shedding occurs before one shows symptoms and during the first seven days of symptoms. The report was posted March 8 at


The report also explains the high-transmission rates. Viral particles were found in about 17% of swabs taken from the throat and nose and in 83% of phlegm samples.The study also found the samples contain some 1,000-times more viruses than those from SARS.


Although after about eight days, viral RNAs can still be detected in swabs or other samples, the infectious powers of the virus were almost non-existent. This is about the time that it takes for one’s own body’s antibodies to kick in and start killing any viruses that haven’t invaded a host cell, explains study researcher Clemens Wendtner, director of infectious disease and tropical medicine at Munich Clinic Schwabing, a teaching hospital.

Because of this early shedding, that is why “gatherings of people should be avoided,” Wendtner told the media.

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