The incubation period of the coronavirus or COVID-19, which is the time after what the people who are infected start showing the first symptoms, can be as much as eight days, longer than the earlier estimates of four to five days, according to a new study. The research involved the largest number of patient samples to date.

The study that was published in the journal Science Advances, identified the pre-symptomatic people at their time of the departure from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak started in 2019, and then followed the infected people until the development of the symptoms.

COVID-19 Incubation Period Might be Longer

Wuhan Coronavirus
Twitter / Imran Iftikhar

As per the scientists, which include Chong You from the Peking University of China, the existing estimates of around four to five days for the incubation period were based on the small sample sizes, limited data, and the self-reports, that might be biased, as reported by the Financial Express.

In the latest study, the researchers developed a low-cost approach for estimating the incubation periods and applied it to 1,084 confirmed cases of coronavirus that had known travel histories or residency in Wuhan.

Making use of the new approach, the scientists calculated that the average incubation period was 7.75 days, with 10 percent of the patients showing an incubation period of around 14.28 days. They mentioned that the findings might concern the health authorities who are depending on the standard 14-day quarantine but warned that their approach relies on several assumptions and may not be applicable to later cases in different parts of the world where the virus might have mutated.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 19.3 million people globally and claimed the lives of over 721,000 people worldwide. Scientists are currently working to find a cure for the disease as more than 100 vaccine candidates are currently under trials. An effective vaccine is expected by the first quarter of 2021.