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These researchers reveal the truth about COVID-19 viral loads in vaccinated people

UC Davis and UC San Francisco researchers found vaccinated and unvaccinated people carry the same viral load for the coronavirus

The virus that causes COVID-19.
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people carry the same viral loads of the delta variant of the coronavirus when they are infected, according to new research.
NIAID-RML via Associated Press

Vaccinated and unvaccinated people carry the same viral loads of the delta variant of the coronavirus when they are infected, according to new research.

A research team — made up of scientists from the University of California Davis and University of California San Francisco — found that people with symptomatic and asymptomatic infections carried similar viral loads.

  • However, this doesn’t mean that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 as fast as unvaccinated people. Per The Sacramento Bee, vaccinated people are less likely to get infected by the coronavirus.
  • And vaccinated people are less likely to suffer from severe COVID-19, according to the study. Vaccinated people are less likely to be sent to the hospital due to the coronavirus, too, per The Sacramento Bee.
  • The researchers said the findings “underscore the continuing need for masking and regular testing alongside vaccination, especially in areas of high prevalence.”

The delta variant has been known to spread faster and more rapidly than other mutations of the coronavirus. In fact, Eric Topol, a scientist and physician, explained on Twitter that the delta variant has a higher viral load, meaning it contains more particles than earlier variants of the coronavirus.

  • “Part of the challenge that delta presents may be tied to this finding. The variant’s viral load ~1,000X higher than previous strains (reflected by low CTs), more infectious in the early stages of the illness,” he wrote via Twitter.

Per Healthline, researchers said vaccinated people often will take in less viral load because of the COVID-19 vaccine, which stops them from spreading the delta variant as much as unvaccinated people.