Beijing: In an alarming find, Chinese doctors have recovered live coronavirus in spit and human excreta in samples from recovering COVID-19 patients.The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that some patients had positive, real-time fluorescence polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results for SARS-CoV-2 in the sputum or faeces after the pharyngeal swabs became negative.
Pharyngeal swabs are widely used to determine the appropriateness for a patient’s discharge from the hospital and/or whether isolation continues to be required.The findings from Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University in China raise concerns over whether patients with negative pharyngeal swabs are truly virus-free or if sampling of additional body sites might be needed.For the findings, the clinicians retrospectively identified a convenience sample of patients admitted to Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University with a diagnosis of COVID-19 and paired RT-PCR testing of pharyngeal swabs with either sputum or feces.
Among 133 patients admitted with COVID-19 from January 20 to February 27, 2020, the authors identified 22 with initial or follow-up positive sputum or fecal samples paired with a follow-up negative pharyngeal sample.
RT-PCR positive for SARS-CoV2 of sputum and feces was seen up to 39 and 13 days, respectively, after the obtained pharyngeal samples were negative.The researchers caution that the study was not carried out in a systematic fashion with a sampling of all patients in a protocolized manner, and “it is not known whether this positive sputum or faecal results indicate that the patient could still be infectious to others.”
However, the findings are potentially important because they suggest that more study is needed in this area.The global coronavirus positive cases crossed 7.8 lakh n Tuesday, with nearly 38,000 deaths.As of Tuesday, China reported 82,240 cases, with 3,309 fatalities, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.The US registered 164,274 cases, the highest in the world, while Italy had the largest number of deaths at 11,591.