Fear of 'silent spreaders' increases as Pennsylvania reopens

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that the ‘spreaders’ could be making people sick before or if they feel symptoms.

“They don’t know they have the infection. They don’t even have any symptoms, yet they are highly contagious,” said Dr. Mike Cirigliano.

“Those are the spreaders we worry about and when you get them together, like a choir practice, you have what’s called a ‘Super spreader event.' Those images of people in the Ozarks at the beach party having fun with no masks, all together, is a recipe for disaster.”

Cirigliano says that there is quite a dilemma being faced right now and that to first combat this, people have to get out amongst others and make a living.

“So that’s number one. Number two, we need an effective treatment. Number three, we need a vaccine,” he said.

At the end of January, scientists at the Wistar Institute were beginning their studies of these events. They, alongside a large group of researchers and a 40 patient clinical trial, are working to find a vaccine and different treatments. Twenty are at the University of Pennsylvania.

“According to Pablo Tabas, the principal investigator, it’s been well-tolerated,” said Dr. David Weiner, Director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at the Wistar Institute. “All 40 patients have been dosed and we’re now following for longer safety and immunogenicity.”

Weiner adds that the timetable for possible therapies and treatments looks promising at this point.

“I believe we’ll see many of those tests rolling out and getting data over the course of the summer as far as what prevents progression. It keeps people from the ICU and gets people recovered faster,” he said.


For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.