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WHO expert calls comments on asymptomatic virus transmission a “misunderstanding”

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PHOTO: WHO's Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove - AP

After stirring some controversy with comments about asymptomatic transmission of the virus being “very rare”, a World Health Organisation Covid-19 expert has rushed to explain herself. In a Q&A session on social media, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, says there is no definitive answer yet as to whether or not such transmission is rare but indicated that real world data showed this could be the case.

The WHO says studies indicate up to 40% of infections could be spread by asymptomatic carriers, in other words, those who have the virus but display no symptoms.

Dr. Van Kerkhove’s original comments at a press briefing earlier this week, about the rarity of such transmission, were based on a small number of unpublished studies that tracked the contacts of asymptomatic carriers. She says her use of the words “very rare” was related to the individuals referenced in those studies, and not indicative of global transmission trends.

“I used the phrase ‘very rare’ and I think that it’s a misunderstanding to state the asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. What I was referring to was a subset of studies. I was also referring to some data that isn’t published or official.”

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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