Long-term SARS-CoV-2 RNA Shedding and its Temporal Association to IgG Seropositivity

medRxiv. 2020 Jul 7;2020.06.02.20120774. doi: 10.1101/2020.06.02.20120774. Preprint


Analysis of 851 COVID-19 patients with a SARS-CoV-2-positive PCR at follow-up shows 99 patients remained SARS-CoV-2-positive after four weeks from initial diagnosis. Surprisingly, a majority of these long-term viral RNA shedders were not hospitalized (61 of 99), with variable PCR Crossing point values over the month post diagnosis. For the 851-patient cohort, the mean lower bound of viral RNA shedding was 17.3 days (SD: 7.8), and the mean upper bound of viral RNA shedding from 668 patients transitioning to confirmed PCR-negative status was 22.7 days (SD: 11.8). Among 104 patients with an IgG test result, 90 patients were seropositive to date, with mean upper bound of time to seropositivity from initial diagnosis being 37.8 days (95%CI: 34.3-41.3). Juxtaposing IgG/PCR tests revealed that 14 of 90 patients are non-hospitalized and seropositive yet shed viral RNA. This study emphasizes the need for monitoring viral loads and neutralizing antibody titers in long-term shedders.

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