Surely a truly “symptomless superspreader “ of Covid 19 is impossible

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Summary:

To generate enough virus particles to spread to other people, can only mean that that the spreader’s body is having to do work to generate quantities of new virus particles. This just cannot be completely symptomless can it?
When cells get "Hi-jacked" to make new virus particles it usually has a considerable effect on us, and we feel tired and unwell. The so-called "superspreaders " are presumably able to ignore these effects , but they must have them to a lesser degree than usual.
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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Summary:: To generate enough virus particles to spread to other people, can only mean that that the spreader’s body is having to do work to generate quantities of new virus particles. This just cannot be completely symptomless can it?

When cells get "Hi-jacked" to make new virus particles it usually has a considerable effect on us, and we feel tired and unwell. The so-called "superspreaders " are presumably able to ignore these effects , but they must have them to a lesser degree than usual.
Can you please post some links to the reading you have been doing about this subject? That would help a lot in starting this discussion.

Are you familiar with the various kinds of tests that exist for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (and the limitations of those tests)? Are you familiar with the typical incubation period for COVID-19 before symptoms tend to show up?

Thanks for posting links and more information. :smile:
 
  • #3
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Can you please post some links to the reading you have been doing about this subject? That would help a lot in starting this discussion.

Are you familiar with the various kinds of tests that exist for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (and the limitations of those tests)? Are you familiar with the typical incubation period for COVID-19 before symptoms tend to show up?

Thanks for posting links and more information. :smile:
 
  • #4
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It is the current general belief, is it not, that what has made this SARS-Covid -19 so dangerously different from previous pandemics is that people “without symptoms” can and are spreading it. If some of these spreaders show symptoms later , then that is not part of the argument I am trying to make. I am trying to simply question the idea that a spreader can shed enough virus particles at the start to infect other people during the period when they themselves are said to be “symptomless” . This cannot be correct I argue,--it’s against the laws of physics ! Their bodies must be doing work by generating new virus particles to spread around and this means they MUST have symptoms at some level, so we need to be conscious of such low level symptoms .
 
  • #5
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Are you arguing that
  1. There are no asymptomatic infectious people with any disease?
  2. There are no asymptomatic infectious people with any viral disease?
  3. There are asymptomatic infectious people with viral diseases, but not this viral disease?
And whichever it is, do you have any evidence for it beyond "it seems to me"?
 
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  • #6
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I suppose I am arguing like you suggest in your 3 points, but I have only thought about it in terms of Covid 19. As you know full well Science is all about "it seems to me" postulates which are able to be dismissed or accepted when hard evidence comes to hand. Arguing from the point of a fundamental law of Physics seems a sensible starting point.
 
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  • #7
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rguing from the point of a fundamental law of Physics seems a sensible starting point.
I'm sorry, but that "fundamental law of physics" is something you just made up.

If you are arguing all three points, there is unequivocal evidence that point #1 is wrong. Google "Typhoid Mary".
 
  • #8
berkeman
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It is the current general belief, is it not, that what has made this SARS-Covid -19 so dangerously different from previous pandemics is that people “without symptoms” can and are spreading it. If some of these spreaders show symptoms later , then that is not part of the argument I am trying to make. I am trying to simply question the idea that a spreader can shed enough virus particles at the start to infect other people during the period when they themselves are said to be “symptomless” . This cannot be correct I argue,--it’s against the laws of physics ! Their bodies must be doing work by generating new virus particles to spread around and this means they MUST have symptoms at some level, so we need to be conscious of such low level symptoms .
Please post mainstream medical science links to start this discussion thread, or it will be locked.
 
  • #9
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Summary:: To generate enough virus particles to spread to other people, can only mean that that the spreader’s body is having to do work to generate quantities of new virus particles. This just cannot be completely symptomless can it?

When cells get "Hi-jacked" to make new virus particles it usually has a considerable effect on us, and we feel tired and unwell. The so-called "superspreaders " are presumably able to ignore these effects , but they must have them to a lesser degree than usual.
The cause of symptoms in a COVID 19 viral infection, as with common colds and flus, is not the virus itself but the immune response such cytokines and CD8+ T-cells. The asymptomatic people have low immunogenic responses to the virus so it doesn't make them sick enough to notice. Superspreaders are people who happen to shed virus particles extremely well, for cellular/physiological reasons. There are lots of research papers on the internet on this subject, which could explain it a lot better.

Racaniello's virology lecture: First lecture on viruses.

 
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  • #10
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Please post mainstream medical science links to start this discussion thread, or it will be locked.
 
  • #12
Fervent Freyja
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I understand what you are asking. But I think you are confused on definitions here.

Technically, a symptom is defined as a patient’s perspective and isn’t a fact. Asymptomatic during disease simply means the person isn’t paying attention or bothered by what is going on in their body and more importantly some people don’t respond the same as the norm. There are many possible reasons for this. A symptom is more of an opinion and perspective from the patient than a fact. So, yes, one person can actually breeze through their day normally during any disease or illness while another will be in some way hindered. People are affected differently. Many illnesses can be symptomless.

A sign, however, is able to be “proven” or found by a medical provider. A person will usually only seek medical attention if they have symptoms. And the same with a symptom- people don’t develop the same signs. I was diagnosed and quarantined/put off work by a physician back in May with COVID, I had every symptom except for one, yet was actually not tested because I wasn’t running a high fever (CDC guidances back then). Instead, I ran a low grade fever for 6 days. What they didn’t take into account is that I have NEVER had a high fever with any infection. And that happens. People respond differently. Some may have no symptoms and lack the most qualifying sign for an illness.
 
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  • #13
atyy
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Summary:: To generate enough virus particles to spread to other people, can only mean that that the spreader’s body is having to do work to generate quantities of new virus particles. This just cannot be completely symptomless can it?

When cells get "Hi-jacked" to make new virus particles it usually has a considerable effect on us, and we feel tired and unwell. The so-called "superspreaders " are presumably able to ignore these effects , but they must have them to a lesser degree than usual.
The term "asymptomatic" is variable in meaning.

For example, in https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2008457 asymptomatic residents were described as "those who had no symptoms or only stable chronic symptoms (e.g., chronic cough without worsening)".

Many asymptomatic patients have lung abnormalities:

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-per...ges-asymptomatic-covid-19-viral-loads-patient: "a team from Wuhan, China, reports that even asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 pneumonia have abnormal lung findings on computed tomography (CT) "

https://www.journalofinfection.com/article/S0163-4453(20)30211-5/fulltext: "In this cohort, all 58 asymptomatic cases with COVID-19 pneumonia confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing and CT scan had history of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. At the time of admission, all patients had not any symptoms, but all had abnormal CT findings. "
 
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  • #14
atyy
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Incidentally, it has been suggested that in the case of whooping cough, some vaccines do not prevent a person from getting infected, but reduce the severity of the disease to the point that the person is asymptomatic yet still able to spread the disease.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482312/
"The recent increase in whooping cough incidence (primarily caused by Bordetella pertussis) presents a challenge to both public health practitioners and scientists trying to understand the mechanisms behind its resurgence. Three main hypotheses have been proposed to explain the resurgence: 1) waning of protective immunity from vaccination or natural infection over time, 2) evolution of B. pertussis to escape protective immunity, and 3) low vaccine coverage. Recent studies have suggested a fourth mechanism: asymptomatic transmission from individuals vaccinated with the currently used acellular B. pertussis vaccines."
 
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  • #15
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The so-called "superspreaders "...
To be a superspreader one does not necessary have to have excess virus production. It is more about being at the right (wrong) place at the right (wrong) time.
 
  • #16
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Please post mainstream medical science links to start this discussion thread, or it will be locked.
A good article by Emma Cave which reviews the situation on "Super-Spreaders"can be found attached.
I don't think @berkeman meant "post a random article that mentions superspreaders but does not support any of your claims". (If anything, it refutes them)
 
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  • #17
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Summary:: To generate enough virus particles to spread to other people, can only mean that that the spreader’s body is having to do work to generate quantities of new virus particles. This just cannot be completely symptomless can it?
It can.
The so-called "superspreaders " are presumably able to ignore these effects , but they must have them to a lesser degree than usual.
No.

Researchers show children are silent spreaders of SARS-CoV-2
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-children-silent-spreaders-sars-cov-.html
https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(20)31023-4/fulltext

Objectives
As schools plan for re-opening, understanding the potential role children play in the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the factors that drive severe illness in children is critical.
Study design: Children ages 0-22 years with suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection presenting to urgent care clinics or being hospitalized for confirmed/suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) were offered enrollment in the MGH Pediatric COVID-19 Biorepository. Enrolled children provided nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and/or blood specimens. SARS-CoV-2 viral load, ACE2 RNA levels, and serology for SARS-CoV-2 were quantified.
Results
A total of 192 children (mean age 10.2 +/- 7 years) were enrolled. Forty-nine children (26%) were diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection; an additional 18 children (9%) met criteria for MIS-C. Only 25 (51%) of children with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection presented with fever; symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection, if present, were non-specific. Nasopharyngeal viral load was highest in children in the first 2 days of symptoms, significantly higher than hospitalized adults with severe disease (P = .002). Age did not impact viral load, but younger children had lower ACE2 expression (P=0.004). IgM and IgG to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were increased in severe MIS-C (P<0.001), with dysregulated humoral responses observed.
Conclusion
This study reveals that children may be a potential source of contagion in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in spite of milder disease or lack of symptoms, and immune dysregulation is implicated in severe post-infectious MIS-C.
 
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  • #18
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And here is a story in Reuters going back to April about the large number of asymptomatic individuals in US prisons.
 
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  • #19
BillTre
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This cannot be correct I argue,--it’s against the laws of physics !
Which laws of Physics are these that connect having enough virus reproducing to spread to others, with having symptoms?
Each of these steps is complexly biological in nature (meaning involves many steps that can lift them above strictly physics level "rules").
This gives a virus enough wiggle room to evolve ways to spread while just having moderate to no symptoms. Adaptive for the virus, in that the host lives longer, to spread (reproduce) longer. A clear advantage for such a virus.

There are many examples of successful viruses (thus they had to reproduce and spread) with little or no symptoms. Merck lists some here.
You probably have several in your body right now.
Viral reproduction, in of itself, is not such a heavy burden on the body to always be devastating.
 
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  • #20
jim mcnamara
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Plus, you can carry pathogens of all sorts and not react to them much because you have resistance from a related disease. This has been known since Edward Jenner noticed milkmaids who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox, which is cowpox's cousin.

Did you know that there are several very commonly circulating Coronavirus colds that once caught, appear to create limited immunity to COVID-19?

In other words, people who had a cold of the correct flavor can later have a minor COVID 19 infection and can spread the COVID 19 virus, but do not become overtly ill. "asymptomatic", just like the milk maids....

I learned this smallpox thing in primary school. I guess the lesson does not go forward well.
 
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  • #21
atyy
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Plus, you can carry pathogens of all sorts and not react to them much because you have resistance from a related disease. This has been known since Edward Jenner noticed milkmaids who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox, which is cowpox's cousin.

Did you know that there are several very commonly circulating Coronavirus colds that once caught, appear to create limited immunity to COVID-19?

In other words, people who had a cold of the correct flavor can later have a minor COVID 19 infection and can spread the COVID 19 virus, but do not become overtly ill. "asymptomatic", just like the milk maids....

I learned this smallpox thing in primary school. I guess the lesson does not go forward well.
Did the milkmaids who had cowpox spread smallpox?
 
  • #22
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Did the milkmaids who had cowpox spread smallpox?
You can spread the flu without getting sick if you already have had this specific strain. It might not be a superspread, but I'm sure there is an infectious time window. And if we have learnt one thing about SARS-Covid-2, then that it does not fit in any drawer we have for similar virus infections. It is strange in ´so many ways, that I wonder that its strangeness concerning symptomless superspreaders is even an issue.
 
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  • #23
jim mcnamara
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Did the milkmaids who had cowpox spread smallpox?
Good question, AFAIK, it is not known. Jenner had huge political and public acceptance problems. Remember the world back then had no germ theory of disease. Come to think of it we seem to have similar problems.

Cartoon from 1802(?) per Wikipedia - people were afraid the cowpox vaccination would make them grow horns.

Screenshot_2020-08-23 Edward Jenner - Wikipedia.png
 
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  • #24
atyy
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I guess we have to wait and see whether we get a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that is effective. And if it is effective, whether it reduces severity without preventing asymptomatic spread, or whether it will both reduce the severity and prevent transmission.
 
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  • #25
berkeman
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Thread closed for Moderation...

UPDATE -- After a Mentor discussion, thread will stay closed. Thank you to all who tried to help the OP.
 
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