Months after coronavirus was first detected, many questions remain unanswered

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More than four months after the first case of the novel coronavirus was detected in Canada, health officials and researchers are still working around the clock to better understand the virus and to develop treatments and vaccines to protect against it.

But while researchers have made some headway, several questions about the virus remain unanswered.

Finding the answers to these questions, experts say, is important as the country begins to reopen.

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Asymptomatic spread and population immunity

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said the biggest unanswered questions are what role asymptomatic people play in the virus’s transmission, and how many people in Canada have already been infected.

“We don’t know what the background level is in the population, we don’t know how many people have it and we don’t know how transmissible it is,” he said. “We know people spread it asymtomatic but we don’t know how much.”

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He said finding the answers to these questions is “hugely important,” and there are ways Canada could find answers.

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