Duration of SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding during COVID-19 infection

Publication

Infectious Diseases

Author(s)

Guo-Qing Qian, Xue-Qin Chen, Ding-Feng Lv, Ada Hoi Yan Ma, Li-Ping Wang, Nai-Bin Yang & Xiao-Min Chen

Abstract

In early December 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified in Wuhan. It has been named COVID-19 and to date it has spread to more than 120 countries. It has become a global pandemic. There are great challenges in disease control and prevention, for the three following reasons. First, asymptomatic and symptomatic patients likewise are capable of spreading COVID-19. Second, the viral loads of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients are similar, which means they are equally effective in spreading COVID-19. Third, it is unclear how long is the SARS-CoV-2 viral duration in upper respiratory specimens of infected patients. It was reported that following a positive diagnosis, on average, patients will cease to be tested positive after 21 days.

In this retrospective study, we examined the hospital records of 24 COVID-19 patients who had been discharged according to the National Health Commission discharge guidelines: two consecutive negative throat swabs and one negative rectal swab. The median duration of viral shedding was 12.0 days (IQR, 9.0–14.0). The shortest during of viral shedding was 4 days, and the longest in our cohort is 34 days. In a recent study, Zhou and colleagues reported the median duration of viral shedding was 20.0 days in survivors, the longest was 37 days. Here we report this particularly long infection case of COVID-19.

Date

April 10, 2020

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