Predictive factors of COVID-19 in patients with negative RT-qPCR

Link to article at PubMed

López de la Iglesia J, et al. Semergen 2020.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the factors associated with false negatives in RT-qPCR in patients with mild-moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study that used a random sample of non-hospitalized patients from the primary care management division of the Healthcare Area of Leon (58 RT-qPCR-positive cases and 52 RT-qPCR-negative cases). Information regarding symptoms was collected and all patients were simultaneously tested using two rapid diagnostic tests - RDTs (Combined - cRDT and Differentiated - dRDT). The association between symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 infection was evaluated by non-conditional logistic regression, with estimation of Odds Ratio.

RESULTS: A total of 110 subjects were studied, 52% of whom were women (mean age: 48.2±11.0 years). There were 42.3% of negative RT-qPCRs that were positive in some RDTs. Fever over 38°C (present in 35.5% of cases) and anosmia (present in 41.8%) were the symptoms most associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, a relationship that remained statistically significant in patients with negative RT-qPCR and some positive RDT (aOR=6.64; 95%CI=1.33-33.13 and aOR=19.38; 95% CI=3.69-101.89, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: RT-qPCR is the technique of choice in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but it is not exempt from false negatives. Our results show that patients who present mild or moderate symptoms with negative RT-qPCR, but with fever and/or anosmia, should be considered as suspicious cases and should be evaluated with other diagnostic methods.

PMID:32651152 | DOI:10.1016/j.semerg.2020.06.010

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