Positive rate of RT-PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection in 4880 cases from one hospital in Wuhan, China, from Jan to Feb 2020

Clin Chim Acta. 2020 Jun:505:172-175. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2020.03.009. Epub 2020 Mar 7.


Background: There's an outbreak of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection since December 2019, first in China, and currently with more than 80 thousand confirmed infection globally in 29 countries till March 2, 2020. Identification, isolation and caring for patients early are essential to limit human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers, preventing transmission amplification events. The RT-PCR detection of viral nucleic acid test (NAT) was one of the most quickly established laboratory diagnosis method in a novel viral pandemic, just as in this COVID-19 outbreak.

Methods: 4880 cases that had respiratory infection symptoms or close contact with COVID-19 patients in hospital in Wuhan, China, were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection by use of quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) on samples from the respiratory tract. Positive rates were calculated in groups divided by genders or ages.

Results: The positive rate was about 38% for the total 4880 specimens. Male and older population had a significant higher positive rates. However, 57% was positive among the specimens from the Fever Clinics. Binary logistic regression analysis showed that age, not gender, was the risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection in fever clinics.

Conclusions: Therefore, we concluded that viral NAT played an important role in identifying SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Nucleic acid test; Positive rate; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus / chemistry*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / virology
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • China / epidemiology
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleocapsid / chemistry
  • Nucleocapsid / genetics
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Respiratory System / virology
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex Factors
  • Sputum / virology
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Viral