False negative of RT-PCR and prolonged nucleic acid conversion in COVID-19: Rather than recurrence

J Med Virol. 2020 Oct;92(10):1755-1756. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25855. Epub 2020 Jul 11.


A novel coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic cause by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) threatens the world. We read with interest the recent report by Li et al. that included 610 patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19). They reported a high false‐negative rate of real‐time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR) results for SARS‐CoV‐2 detection. In addition, recent report regarding SARS‐CoV‐2 “turn positive” in recovered cases with COVID‐19 were published. Here, we studied the characteristics of nucleic acid conversion for SARS‐CoV‐2 from 70 COVID‐19 patients. We found that 15 (21.4%) patients experienced a “turn positive” of nucleic acid detection by RT‐PCR test for SARS‐CoV‐2 after two consecutive negative results, which may be related to the false negative of RT‐PCR test and prolonged nucleic acid conversion

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Keywords: SARS coronavirus (virus classification); coronavirus (virus classification); shedding (pathogenesis).

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acids / genetics*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics


  • Nucleic Acids