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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 631-636

COVID-19 subclinical infection and immunity: A review

1 Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria; John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Monrovia, Liberia
2 Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria
3 National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria
4 Department of Paediatrics, University of Jos/Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Nathan Yakubu Shehu
Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Plateau State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_85_21

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The aetiologic agent of COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Like other coronaviruses, it generally induces enteric and respiratory diseases in animals and humans. COVID-19 may be subclinical, and symptomatic, ranging from mild–to-severe disease. The spectrum of presentation is the result of several factors ranging from the inoculum size, inherent host susceptibility, possible cross-reacting circulating antibodies. Subclinical viral infections are associated with widespread community transmission and in some cases like Polio, herd immunity. An understanding of the biology and immune behavior in subclinical coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might be useful in the quest for vaccine development as well as the current control efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. We carried out a narrative review of the available literature on the biology, etiopathogenesis, clinical manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 viral infection, focusing on our current understanding of the disease mechanisms and its clinical manifestation, and the host immune response to the infection. We also highlighted some of the research gaps regarding subclinical infection in COVID-19 and its potential application for vaccine development and other preventive efforts toward containing the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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