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Laboratory diagnosis and monitoring the viral shedding of 2019-nCoV infections

By Yang Yang, Minghui Yang, Chenguang Shen, Fuxiang Wang, Jing Yuan, Jinxiu Li, Mingxia Zhang, Zhaoqin Wang, Li Xing, Jinli Wei, Ling Peng, Gary Wong, Haixia Zheng, Weibo Wu, Mingfeng Liao, Kai Feng, Jianming Li, Qianting Yang, Juanjuan Zhao, Zheng Zhang, Lei Liu, Yingxia Liu

Posted 12 Feb 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.11.20021493

BackgroundThe outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) caused by 2019-nCoV spread rapidly, and elucidating the diagnostic accuracy of different respiratory specimens is crucial for the control and treatment of this disease. MethodsRespiratory samples including nasal swabs, throat swabs, sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were collected from Guangdong CDC confirmed NCP patients, and viral RNAs were detected using a CFDA approved detection kit. Results were analyzed in combination with sample collection date and clinical information. FindingsExcept for BALF, the sputum possessed the highest positive rate (74.4%[~]88.9%), followed by nasal swabs (53.6%[~]73.3%) for both severe and mild cases during the first 14 days after illness onset (d.a.o). For samples collected [≥] 15 d.a.o, sputum and nasal swabs still possessed a high positive rate ranging from 42.9%[~]61.1%. The positive rate of throat swabs collected [≥] 8 d.a.o was low, especially in samples from mild cases. Viral RNAs could be detected in all the lower respiratory tract of severe cases, but not the mild cases. CT scan of cases 02, 07 and 13 showed typical viral pneumonia with ground-glass opacity, while no viral RNAs were detected in first three or all the upper respiratory samples. InterpretationSputum is most accurate for laboratory diagnosis of NCP, followed by nasal swabs. Detection of viral RNAs in BLAF is necessary for diagnosis and monitoring of viruses in severe cases. CT scan could serve as an important make up for the diagnosis of NCP. FundingNational Science and Technology Major Project, Sanming Project of Medicine and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.

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