Half TRNC virus cases recorded ‘asymptomatic’
Taken from this week's issue
By ELTAN HALİL
Researchers at Near East University’s (NEU) Desam Research Institute investigated the characteristics of Covid-19 cases at their PCR diagnostic laboratory.
They shared their findings with the scientific world at the Turkish Microbiology Society (TMC) 2020 Online Microbiology Symposium, which was held from December 25 to December 27, a statement released by NEU on Monday said.
The research found that the “amount of virus detected in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic cases is similar to people with symptoms, which may cause Covid-19 to spread faster”.
As of December 29 there were 217 active cases of the disease in the TRNC, the NEU press release noted. The number of locally transmitted cases in the country over the last few weeks has caused concern, leading to the introduction of new restrictions.
NEU’s research was carried out by evaluating the results obtained from 1,071 patients who admitted themselves to the NEU Hospital in Lefkoşa and the Dr Suat Günsel University of Kyrenia Hospital between July 28 and October 10, 2020, with complaints of coughing, weakness, fever, nasal congestion, sore throat, loss of sense of smell and taste, and muscle joint pain symptoms, as well as those who were “healthy”.
“As a result of the tests, 91 cases were found to be positive,” the NEU press notice said.
“While 40 of the cases showed mild or moderate symptoms, 51 did not show any symptoms. The most common symptoms were fever and asthenia at 21 percent and coughing at 14 percent.
“The rate of asymptomatic people who had the disease and did not show any symptoms was 56 percent.
“In the study, which was stated that SARS-CoV-2 positive cases were between the ages of 2 and 57, the mean age range of asymptomatic and symptomatic cases was found to be 31 to 33.
“Thirty-three identified cases are from Cyprus, 42 are from Turkey, and 16 are from different nationalities. In the Covid-19 cases seen, the rate of men was found to be 67 percent and the rate of women was 33 percent.
“According to the results of the research, it was determined that the rate of patients with a history of contact with the virus remained at 41 percent, while 59 percent did not know where they got the virus from.
“It was pointed out that the virus load, i.e. the amount of virus carried in the respiratory system, is the same in symptomatic cases and asymptomatic cases, so asymptomatic people may be effective in increasing local contamination.”
Desam director Prof Dr Tamer Şanlıdağ emphasised that despite the increase in local cases in recent days, the TRNC is “one of the safest countries in the world” and the Covid-19 measures should be continued “without complacency”.
“We will be protected to a great extent as long as we wear a mask,” Prof Şanlıdağ said. Noting that “not every symptomatic person has Covid-19”, Prof Şanlıdağ announced plans for “molecular tests” to determine the difference between the virus and flu.
“Even the virus that causes a simple cold can show symptoms similar to Covid-19,” he said.
“We will initiate molecular tests to differentiate Covid-19 from influenza and determine which treatment should be applied.”
Deesam’s “Clinical and Molecular Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Infected Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Cases” was jointly conducted by Prof Şanlıdağ, Prof Dr H. Kaya Süer, Prof Dr Murat Sayan, Assoc. Prof Dr Buket Baddal, Assoc. Prof Dr Mahmut Çerkez Ergören, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pınar Tülay, Assist. Prof Dr Ayşe Arıkan, and Dr Emrah Güler.