Necessity for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple types of specimens for the discharge of the patients with COVID-19.J Transl Med. 2020 11 02; 18(1):411.JT
The SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected positive again after discharged from hospital in some COVID-19 patients, with or without clinical symptoms such as fever or dry cough.
1008 severe COVID-19 patients, with SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive detected with the mixed specimen of nasopharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab by real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), were selected to monitor SARS-CoV-2 RNA with the 12 types of specimens by RT-qPCR during hospitalization. All of 20 discharged cases with COVID-19 were selected to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in isolation period with 7 types of specimens by RT-qPCR before releasing the isolation period.
Of the enrolled 1008 severe patients, the nasopharyngeal swab specimens showed the highest positive rate of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (71.06%), followed by alveolar lavage fluid (66.67%), oropharyngeal swab (30.77%), sputum (28.53%), urine (16.30%), blood (12.5%), stool (12.21%), anal swab (11.22%) and corneal secretion (2.99%), and SARS-CoV-2 RNA couldn't be detected in other types of specimen in this study. Of the 20 discharged cases during the isolation period, the positive rate of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was 30% (6/20): 2 cases were positive in sputum at the eighth and ninth day after discharge, respectively, 1 case was positive in nasopharynx swab at the sixth day after discharge, 1 case was positive in anal swab at the eighth day after discharge, and 1 case was positive in 3 specimens (nasopharynx swab, oropharynx swab and sputum) simultaneously at the fourth day after discharge, and no positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in other specimens including stool, urine and blood at the discharged patients.
SARS-CoV-2 RNA should be detected in multiple specimens, such as nasopharynx swab, oropharynx swab, sputum, and if necessary, stool and anal swab specimens should be performed simultaneously at discharge when the patients were considered for clinical cure and before releasing the isolation period.