SARS-CoV-2 show no infectivity at later stages in a prolonged COVID-19 patient despite positivity in RNA testing

Link to article at PubMed

J Med Virol. 2021 Apr 8. doi: 10.1002/jmv.27001. Online ahead of print.


Inpatient COVID-19 cases present enormous costs to patients and health systems in the United States. Many hospitalized patients may continue testing COVID-19 positive even after resolution of symptoms. Thus, a pressing concern for clinicians is the safety of discharging these asymptomatic patients if they have any remaining infectivity. This case report explores the viral viability in a patient with persistent COVID-19 over the course of a two-month hospitalization. Positive nasopharyngeal swab samples were collected and isolated in the laboratory and analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (qRT-PCR), and serology was tested for neutralizing antibodies throughout the hospitalization period. The patient experienced waning symptoms by hospital day 40 and had no viable virus growth by hospital day 41, suggesting no risk of infectivity, despite positive RT-PCR results which prolonged his hospital stay. Notably, this case showed infectivity for at least 24 days after disease onset, which is longer than the discontinuation of transmission-based precautions recommendation by the CDC. Thus, our findings suggest that the timeline for discontinuing transmission-based precautions may need to be extended for patients with severe and prolonged COVID-19 disease. Additional large-scale studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions on the appropriate clinical management for these patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:33830520 | DOI:10.1002/jmv.27001

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