Recovered COVID-19 patients test positive but not infectious, data finds

Recovered COVID 19 patients test positive but not infectious data finds

Enlarge / Medical employees transport sufferers of a sanatorium the place mass coronavirus infections occurred to hospital in Daegu, South Korea, March 19, 2020.

People who get better from COVID-19 however check optimistic for the virus once more days or even weeks later will not be shedding viral particles and will not be infectious, based on data released Tuesday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The so-called “re-positive” circumstances have raised fears that an an infection with the brand new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, may “reactivate” in recovered sufferers or that recovering from the an infection could fail to provide even short-lived immunity, permitting sufferers to right away turn into re-infected if they’re uncovered.

The new information from Korea ought to ease these issues.

KCDC researchers examined 285 circumstances that had beforehand recovered from COVID-19 however then examined optimistic once more. The sufferers examined optimistic once more wherever from one to 37 days after recovering from their first an infection and being discharged from isolation. The common time to a second optimistic was about 14 days.

Of these circumstances, researchers checked for signs in 284 of them. They discovered that 126 (about 48 %) did certainly have signs associated to COVID-19.

But none of them appeared to have unfold the an infection. KCDC investigated 790 individuals who had shut contact with the 285 circumstances and located that none of them had been contaminated by the “re-positive” circumstances.

Crucially, further testing of 108 “re-positive” circumstances discovered that none of them had been shedding infectious virus.


The kind of exams that urged the 285 folks had been optimistic for COVID-19 a second time had been what’s referred to as RT-PCR exams (reverse transcription polymerase chain response). These exams are sometimes used to diagnose a COVID-19 an infection. They achieve this by recognizing and making copies of distinctive, focused fragments of SARS-CoV-2’s genetic materials.

It’s a exact and efficient strategy to decide if somebody’s been contaminated with the virus. If somebody has SARS-CoV-2 genetic materials of their airways, they’ve been contaminated. That stated, having genetic materials doesn’t essentially imply that the particular person nonetheless has an lively an infection and infectious viral particles. They could have lingering fragments of genetic materials from destroyed viral particles.

That seems to be the case right here. When KCDC researchers tried to isolate and develop entire, infectious particles of SARS-CoV-2 from the 108 circumstances they had been in a position to check—all 108 had been adverse for entire virus.

Further, once they did additional blood work on 23 of the re-positive circumstances, practically all of them (96 %) had neutralizing antibodies towards SARS-CoV-2. This hints that they might have some immunity to a reinfection with the virus.

It’s unclear what was responsible for signs in lots of the sufferers. A couple of circumstances examined optimistic for different respiratory viruses, however many didn’t.

Still, based mostly on the information, the KCDC decided that re-positive circumstances will not be infectious and don’t have to re-enter isolation.

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