Coronavirus may have longer incubation period than thought: Study

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For representational use [Pic Credit: Green queen]
For representational use [Pic Credit: Green queen]

New Delhi : The Chinese scientists have come up with a new estimate for the incubation period of COVID-19, which is around 7.76 days, longer than previous estimates of 4 to 5 days.

The new study was published in the journal Science Advances, involves the largest amount of coronavirus patient samples to date.

"Countries and health authorities have implemented various containment measures such as quarantines to slow the spread of Covid-19," the Chinese researchers wrote.

"These strategies depend on understanding the disease's incubation period, or the time between someone becoming infected and showing the first symptoms of the disease, and how much it varies from individual to individual," they added.

However, researchers lack a reliable estimate of the incubation period of COVID-19.

The few existing estimates of 4 to 5 days were based on small samples sizes, limited data, and self-reports that could be biased by the memory or judgement of the patient or interviewer.

The research team applied the research to 1,084 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that had known histories of travel or residency in Wuhan, China.

Their approach relying on a public database of dates of infection and uses the renewal theory in probability to reduce recall bias -- the inaccurate recollection of past events.

Ultimately, the team calculated that the median incubation period was 7.75 days, with 10 per cent of patients showing an incubation period of 14.28 days.

The authors noted that this last finding may concern health authorities relying on the standard 14-day quarantine, but caution that their approach relies on several assumptions and may not apply to later cases.