ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With COVID-19 still very much a part of our lives, now might be the time to make sure you’re familiar with some lesser-known COVID-related terminology and their meanings.
We’ve all heard of “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” “flattening the curve” and more terms associated with the pandemic.
But do you know some of the lesser-known terms?
But what about the term “viral shedding?”
“Viral shedding is when you have someone who actually has COVID. And they are infectious. They are infectious by virtue of the fact they are shedding live virus,” said Dr. Steven Kitchen, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital chief medical officer. “They may have symptoms or they may have no symptoms, or they may actually begin shedding virus before they start having symptoms. It’s what we call pre-symptomatic.”
What is viral RNA?
“The common test that’s done for COVID, the swab, it is testing for viral genetic material what we call viral RNA,” Kitchen said. “Now humans produce DNA. Virus or this particular virus, genetic material is what we call RNA.”
“For most people who have a normal immune response, when they get exposed to a bacterial infection or a viral infection, their immune system produces something called antibodies,” Kitchen said. “Antibodies are protective and they help us fight infection.”
What does presumptive positive mean?
“A ‘presumptive positive’ usually means that it’s not waited the full amount of recommended time to interpret a test is being positive or negative, but whatever that time interval is, it looks like it’s probably a positive test,” Kitchen said.
What about a mutation of COVID-19?
“So, viruses, unfortunately, have the ability to adapt. And what I mean by that is, they can change their genetic makeup. And so, when they do that, that’s a mutation,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen said there is some evidence to suggest that there may be different forms of the virus.
One example, Kitchen pointed out, is the medical community is not seeing as high of a percentage of people who are developing life-threatening manifestations of COVID-19.
There are still a lot of unknowns, Kitchen said.