WHO retracts ‘asymptomatic’ claim as French prof disputes it

Maria Van Kerkhove speaks at the WHO. She has since sought to clarify her ‘asymptomatic’ claim, which was disputed by a French professor among others
Maria Van Kerkhove, infectious disease epidemiologist and Covid-19 Technical Lead at the WHO, has since sought to "clarify" her statement

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clarified its statement that it is “very rare” for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be spread by asymptomatic carriers, after a French professor was among those to contradict it.

Maria Van Kerkhove, infectious disease epidemiologist and Covid-19 Technical Lead at the WHO, was forced to clarify the comments after her initial statement provoked a backlash from medical professionals worldwide, and she stood accused of spreading unhelpful information among users on Twitter.

At a virtual WHO press conference, Ms Van Kerkhove had originally said: “It seems rare that an asymptomatic person would spread the virus.”

SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

The statement was roundly contradicted by medical professionals online, including Professor Gilbert Deray, at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Contrary to what the WHO has announced, it is not scientifically possible to confirm whether asymptomatic carriers of SARS-Cov-2 are low spreaders.”

To read the remaining 85% of this article, you need to either

Subscribe now to The Connexion and benefit from access to our archived articles since 2006

Print + Digital 3 month subscription

Pay every three months. Our most flexible subscription.

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

€14.25 to France - €18 to EU/UK - €19.50 to rest of the world per quarter including postage

Print + Digital 1 year subscription

1 year of great reading in print and online

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

€55 to France - €70 to EU/UK - €76 to rest of the world per year including postage

Digital 1 year subscription (Our best value offer)

1 year of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

Digital 3 month subscription

3 months of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

More articles from French news
More articles from Connexion France
Other articles that may interest you