A national coronavirus survey has found that over 80 per cent of people who tested positive had none of the virus` main symptoms.
Coronavirus outbreaks could be difficult to control in future without sufficient testing equipment to pick up the “silent transmission”. There will be a need to conduct testing as soon as outbreaks occur especially in high-risk workplaces and universities.
The study has highlighted that a number of people who are infected by the virus are asymptomatic.
Patrick Maxwell, head of the school of clinical medicine at Cambridge said: “There will be great public health benefit in terms of reducing transmission if we can reliably identify asymptomatic individuals and they then self-isolate.”
According to researchers at UCL, between April and June, the Office of National Statistics Covid-19 survey discovered that 86.1 per cent of infected people did not have core symptoms of the disease like coughing, fever, or loss of taste or smell the day they were tested.
The ONS infection survey routinely tests thousands of people from different households across the country whether the occupants have symptoms or not.
An author on the study and professor of epidemiology and health informatics, Irene Petersen said: “At the moment, the focus is on people who have symptoms, but if you are not catching all those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic it may be really difficult to get outbreaks down in time before they get out of control.”
The finding has prompted fears of a “critical risk” of outbreaks across the country when students return home at the end of the term.