MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Some patients who have recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to be viral positive up to eight days after resolution of symptoms, according to a study published online March 23 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
De Chang, M.D., Ph.D., from the College of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues examined the time kinetics of viral clearance relative to symptom resolution in 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients treated in Beijing, China, and discharged between Jan. 28 and Feb. 9, 2020. Upon clinical presentation, the viral detection test was performed and repeated every other day until the patient tested negative; the negative test was confirmed the following day. Upon confirmation, the patient was asked to quarantine at home for two weeks, with follow-up after one week to confirm viral status.
The researchers note that the patients had a mean incubation period of five days. The mean symptom duration was estimated at eight days. Eight of the 16 patients remained viral positive even after symptom resolution (median, 2.5 days; range, one to eight days). Some patients had comorbidities, including two with diabetes and one with tuberculosis, which did not affect the disease time course. The clinical course did not differ significantly for a 3-year-old male patient versus other patients.
"Further studies are needed to investigate if the real-time polymerase chain reaction-detected virus is capable of transmission at the later stage of the disease," the authors write.