Recovered CORONA VIRUS patients still may be virus carriers

JAMA

Positive RT-PCR Test Results in Patients Recovered From COVID-19

Previous studies on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mainly focused on epidemiological, clinical, and radiological features of patients with confirmed infection.1-4 Little attention has been paid to the follow-up of recovered patients.

Methods

One hospitalized patient and 3 patients (all medical personnel) quarantined at home with COVID-19 were treated at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, from January 1, 2020, to February 15, 2020, and evaluated with real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19 nucleic acid to determine if they could return to work. All the following criteria5 had to be met for hospital discharge or discontinuation of quarantine: (1) normal temperature lasting longer than 3 days, (2) resolved respiratory symptoms, (3) substantially improved acute exudative lesions on chest computed tomography (CT) images, and (4) 2 consecutively negative RT-PCR test results separated by at least 1 day. The RT-PCR tests were performed on throat swabs following a previously described method.1 The RT-PCR test kits (BioGerm) were recommended by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The same technician and brand of test kit was used for all RT-PCR testing reported; both internal controls and negative controls were routinely performed with each batch of tests.

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