Delta variant: This is how high the viral load is in breakthrough infections

The corona vaccination protects against a severe course, but breakthrough infections still occur again and again. Infected vaccinated people can then also unknowingly transmit the virus. Even with asymptomatic infections, the viral load can be high at the beginning, but many self-tests do not work.

Vaccinated people whose basic immunization was more than four to five months ago can become infected with  SARS-CoV-2 more easily  , and they also carry the virus on.

Delta variant: Vaccinated also responsible for infections

Despite vaccination, the AHA rules should continue to be observed: Evaluations show that vaccinated people who have developed symptoms of COVID-19 after being infected with the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 are particularly infectious at the beginning of the disease . However, the viral load decreases more quickly in breakthrough infections.

Indications of this are certain characteristic values, also called Ct values, which can be used to more precisely determine the viral load in the smear and thus the infectivity. It is particularly striking that vaccinated and unvaccinated patients have a similar Ct value. In vaccinated people, however, the value decreases more quickly in the first few days of breakthrough infection than in unvaccinated people.

This was not the case with the initially dominant Alpha variant. Right from the start, the Ct value of those who had been vaccinated twice differed significantly from those who had not been vaccinated: those who had been fully vaccinated had a lower viral load. Since the basic immunization for many people was five months or more ago, the number of infected people is also increasing.

Although the vaccination still protects against severe courses with a high probability, an infection can occur more easily. The federal and state governments are therefore already offering booster vaccinations for people whose basic immunization was at least six months ago in order to maintain vaccination protection and contain the fourth wave.

Antigen tests give false security

Antigen tests at the test stations or self-tests at home can be a useful and important check. However, caution is advised, especially in the case of symptoms of illness or after contact with people who are already infected: The tests have a high error rate, since the antigen test can often be falsely negative, especially in the early phase of the disease without symptoms, despite a high viral load.

So anyone who has had contact with COVID-19 patients should not rely on the self-test and should continue to comply with the AHA rules. Only a PCR test can provide definitive security.

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