The incidence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic patients: a systematic review
AuthorNasrallah, Gheyath K.
MetadataShow full item record
Backgroundthe recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) has quickly spread globally since its discovery in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. A comprehensive strategy, including surveillance, diagnostics, research, and clinical treatment is urgently needed to win the battle against COVID-19. Recently, numerous studies reported the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in asymptomatic patients. Yet, the incidence and viral transmission from the asymptomatic cases are not apparent yet. Aimthis study aims to systematically review the published literature on SARS-CoV-2 in the asymptomatic patients to estimate the incidence of COVID-19 among asymptomatic cases, as well as describe its epidemiological and clinical significance. Methodthe literature was searched through four scientific databases: PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Science Direct. Resultsa total of 63 studies satisfied the inclusion criteria where the majority of the reported studies were from China. However, there was a lack of SARS-CoV-2 epidemiological studies from several countries worldwide, tracing the actual incidence of COVID-19, especially in asymptomatic patients. Studies with a large sample size (n>1000) estimated that percentage of people contracting SARS-CoV-2 and are likely to be asymptomatic ranges from 1.2-12.9%. However, the other studies with a smaller sample size reported a much higher incidence and indicated that up to 87.9% of COVID-19 infected individuals could be asymptomatic. Most of these studies indicated that asymptopatics are a potential source of infection to the community. Conclusionthis review highlighted the need for more robust and well-designed studies to better estimate COVID-19 incidence among asymptomatic patients worldwide. The early identification of the asymptomatic cases, as well as monitoring and tracing close contact, could help in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.