Reported today by Sensitive and Specific that superspreaders are super-shedders and that antigen tests can find them.
It has been known since the earliest pandemic days that superspreaders are responsible for the majority of COVID infections transmitted to others.
What wasn’t known was whether superspreaders were in fact simply the friendliest people (the ones who interacted with the most people), or whether they were the unluckiest (those hit with a “perfect storm” of genetics, immune response, infection dynamics, and viral dose).
In this week’s The Lancet Microbe, we finally have an answer, thanks to a COVID challenge study performed in the UK back in late 2020.
During the trial thirty-four human “guinea pigs” received a nasal spritz of SARS-CoV-2 under controlled conditions; 18 of them became COVID-positive. Incredibly only 2 of those were responsible for 86% of all viable airborne virus collected, despite having only mild symptoms.
Interestingly only 2% of the airborne virus circulated before antigen tests turned positive.