Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: identifying and isolating asymptomatic people helped eliminate virus in Italian village

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 23 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1165

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  1. Michael Day
  1. London, UK

An Italian academic has claimed striking evidence that most people infected with covid-19 show no symptoms but are still able to infect others, which he says has huge implications for testing policy, particularly in hospitals.

Sergio Romagnani, a professor of clinical immunology at the University of Florence, has reported how blanket testing in a completely isolated village of roughly 3000 people in northern Italy saw the number of people with covid-19 symptoms fall by over 90% within 10 days.

Vo’Euganeo, 50 km west of Venice, was closed off by authorities in mid-February, at which point repeat RNA testing of the entire population began. All those with positive tests were quarantined. The number of people sick from covid-19 fell from 88 to seven …

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