A study out of Japan this month indicates you might need more time than CDC’s current patient isolation time for omicron to become undetectable, reports kxan.
About the recent study
A study out of Japan this month indicates you might need more time than that.
In a recent study, researchers from Japan found that omicron patients shed the virus for longer than previous variants.
“It found that the amount of viral RNA was highest three to six days after diagnosis or symptoms,” explains Rodney Rohde, professor and chair of Texas State University’s clinical laboratory science program.
How much time does omicron take?
The CDC’s current patient isolation time is five days.
The Japanese study said omicron became undetectable after 10 days, which is what Rohde, an epidemiologist, personally recommends.
“That 10 day rule that we had for many, many months, if not years, is still something that we believe in,” he says.
Omicron may live longer on surfaces
Another study out of Japan found that the omicron variant lives longer on plastic and skin than other variants.
Baylor Scott & White doctor David Winter explains according to the study, omicron can last two hours on the skin.
“So think of this: If you’ve got a mask and you’ve worn this properly in a crowd and you’ve got COVID on the outside of it, if you take it off, and then touch this with your finger, then later rub your eye or your nose, you’re going to get COVID, so we need to be careful with that,” he explains.
It also indicates that omicron can last up to eight days on a plastic surface.
“So, disinfecting and cleaning is now more important than with the previous viruses,” Winter says.
The good news, Rohde adds, is that the study found that all variants were “completely inactivated” on skin when exposed to common disinfectant for 15 seconds.
He also says it matters how much of the virus lingers on these surfaces.
“I’m not real concerned about it yet, unless we start seeing high levels of virus and we see some direct proof that it’s causing a chain of transmission from surfaces to patients,” Rohde says. “So that’s kind of a different study, a different kind of needs assessment.”
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