In this small sample of COVID-19 infected patients who were mostly young, male with mild infections, half were viral positive even after resolution of their symptoms. This information can provide useful tool for clinicians and policymakers to ensure that recovered patients do not spread the virus.
- It is unclear how long patients with COVID-19 are virus positive after the resolution of symptoms. This study examined the time kinetics of viral clearance in reference to the resolution of symptoms among 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients released from the Treatment Center of PLA General Hospital in Beijing, China, between Jan 28th – Feb 9th, 2020. All patients were discharged after their recovery and confirmation of “viral negative” status by at least two consecutive real-time PCR tests.
- The median age was 35.5 years (range 3-68 years), with 68.8% were male. The major symptoms in these patients were fever (14/16), cough (11/16), pharyngalgia (5/16) and dyspnea (2/16).
- Patients received a viral detection test every other day until two consecutive negative tests were documented.
- Results include:
- Mean incubation period of 5 days (IQR 1-6 days)
- Mean duration of symptoms was 8 days (IQR 6.25-11.5)
- 50% (8/16) of patients remained viral positive (a surrogate marker of shedding) even after the resolution of symptoms (Median 2.5 days, range 1 to 8 days).