What does “low viral load” mean in the context of COVID-19?

A friend in Cairo and her spouse were both diagnosed positive and instructed to self-isolate, which they did willingly enough, as they were tested because of feeling unwell.  They were re-tested at the end of the statutory fortnight.  He has been given the all clear but she has been told that because she has ‘low viral load’ she must isolate for an additonal week and again be tested.

Trustingly, she asked me what, exactly, ‘low viral load’ means, implying that she’s concerned about this and , frankly, just a tad scared.  I’ve tried researching this and had no joy.  Asking for a friend: what does ‘low viral load’ mean in the context of COVID-19?


4 thoughts on “What does “low viral load” mean in the context of COVID-19?”

  1. “low viral load”  What does “ASAP” mean in a government context?

    … 57,768,244 total confirmed worldwide
    … 1,373,650 total deceased
    … 2.4% death rate, including intentional seedings

    US to date,
    … 12,214,704 reported
    … 259,754 deceased. 2.13%

    … Influenza, US 2017-2018
    … 44,802,629 reported, 94,987 deceased. 0.212%

    Wuhan virus then has about 1/3 the flu infection rate  (including flu shots) and ten times the death rate.  Including flu shots, Wuhan has about 3x national lethality versus influenza.  Add annual vaccination then ignore it.


  2. Not a Doctor — not that kind of Doctor anyway.  A guess at what “low viral load” means, from reading around the CovidScam:

    The usual  test involves a Polymerase Chain Reaction where little fragments of genetic material are amplified in a series of doubling reactions.  Eventually, after 30, 35, 40 cycles of doubling, if a small amount of fluorescence is observed, that counts as a positive test.   One of the disputed issues is how many doubling cycles are appropriate.  30 cycles raises the concentration of that little fragment of something (living virus?  dead virus?  contamination?) by about one Billion times.  40 cycles raises it about one Trillion times.

    I would guess that “low viral load” means that the lab was eventually able to show some fluorescence in the sample — but the number of cycles of amplification was so large that the lab has doubts about whether your friend even carries the virus at all.

    If your friend is rather old (70+) and has pre-existing medical conditions, she should be careful.  Otherwise, she should live life and be happy.

  3. In today’s climate, low viral load, as Gavin said in comment #2, means “we don’t know if it’s positive or negative but we must cover our asses. BTW, Dr. Michael Yeadon’s ( an eminent immunologist) blasphemy whom John referenced in the Covid 19 thread, has been censored by youtube. Still available elsewhere on Delingpod.

  4. Thank you all.

    I was pretty sure it had to do with the number of PCR cycles, was hoping we hd a ‘cut off’ point.  Clearly, it’s more like CW’s comment.

    I’ll relay the info.

    PS She’s in the ‘advise to get on with her life and be happy’ cohort.


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