SARS-CoV-2 re-infection versus prolonged shedding: A case series

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2021 Nov;15(6):691-696. doi: 10.1111/irv.12879. Epub 2021 Jun 4.


Since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it has been difficult to differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 re-infection and prolonged RNA shedding. In this report, we identified patients with positive RT-PCR results for SARS-CoV-2 ≥70 days apart. Clinical and laboratory data were collected and criteria were applied to discern whether the presentation was consistent with SARS-CoV-2 re-infection or prolonged viral RNA shedding. Eleven individuals met the initial testing criteria, of which, seven met at least one criteria for re-infection and four were consistent with prolonged RNA shedding. These data demonstrate the need for criteria to differentiate SARS-CoV-2 re-infection from prolonged RNA shedding.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; re-infection; shedding.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Reinfection
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Virus Shedding


  • RNA, Viral