Clinical characteristics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 reactivation

J Infect. 2020 May;80(5):e14-e17. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.03.001. Epub 2020 Mar 20.


Objectives: Previous studies on the pneumonia outbreak caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were based on information from the general population. However, limited data was available for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reactivation. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 reactivation.

Methods: Clinical records, laboratory results, and chest CT scans were retrospectively reviewed for 55 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia (i.e., with throat swab samples that were positive for SARS-CoV-2) who were admitted to Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, from Jan. 8 to Feb. 10, 2020.

Results: All 55 patients had a history of epidemiological exposure to COVID-19, and 5 (9%) patients who discharged from hospital presented with SARS-CoV-2 reactivation. Among the 5 reactivated patients, other symptoms were also observed, including fever, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. One of the 5 patients had progressive lymphopenia (from 1.3 to 0.56 × 109 cells per L) and progressive neutrophilia (from 4.5 to 18.28 × 109 cells per L). All 5 reactivated patients presented normal aminotransferase levels. Throat swab samples from the 5 reactivated patients were tested for SARS-CoV-2, indicating all positive for the virus.

Conclusions: Findings from this small group of cases suggested that there was currently evidence for reactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and there might be no specific clinical characteristics to distinguish them.

Keywords: COVID-19; CT scan; Laboratory medicine; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pharynx / virology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Transaminases / blood


  • Transaminases