[Advances on presymptomatic or asymptomatic carrier transmission of COVID-19]

Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2020 Apr 10;41(4):485-488. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112338-20200228-00207.
[Article in Chinese]


COVID-19 is rapidly spreading. Patients in incubation period and healthy carriers are possible sources for transmission. However, such sources of infection cannot be effectively identified due to the symptoms absent. The research evidence is very lacking so far, although there are a few studies suggesting that presymptomatic or asymptomatic carrier may cause COVID-19 transmission. Nearly half of the literature is in the state of preprint without peer review. The question of "the degree to which presymptomatic or asymptomatic infections can transmit" is not fully understood. There is an urgent need to screen infected carriers in larger close contacts or in the general population, and assess their risk for transmission.


Keywords: Asymptomatic transmission; COVID-19; Presymptomatic transmission; Source of infection.

MeSH terms

  • Asymptomatic Infections*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Carrier State / virology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • SARS-CoV-2