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A case of SARS-CoV-2 carrier for 32 days with several times false negative nucleic acid tests

By Lingjie Song, Guibao Xiao, Xianqin Zhang, Zhan Gao, Shixia Sun, Lin Zhang, Youjun Feng, Guangxin Luan, Sheng Lin, Miao He, Xu Jia

Posted 06 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.31.20045401

In 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first discovered in Wuhan, Hubei, China, causing severe respiratory disease in humans, and has been identified as a public health emergency of international concern. With the spread of the virus, there are more and more false negative cases of RT-PCR nucleic acid detection in the early stage of potential infection. In this paper, we collected the epidemiological history, clinical manifestations, outcomes, laboratory results and images of a SARS-CoV-2 carrier with no significant past medical history. The patient was quarantined because of her colleague had been diagnosed. After the onset of clinical symptoms, chest CT results showed patchy ground-glass opacity (GGO) in her lungs, but it took a total of nine nucleic acid tests to confirm the diagnosis, among which the first eight RT-PCR results were negative or single-target positive. In addition to coughing up phlegm during her stay in the hospital, she did not develop chills, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other clinical symptoms. Since initial antiviral treatment, the lung lesions were absorbed. But the sputum nucleic acid test was still positive. In combination with antiviral and immune therapy, the patient tested negative for the virus. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 was detected only in the lower respiratory tract samples (sputum) throughout the diagnosis and treatment period. This is a confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection with common symptoms, and her diagnosis has undergone multiple false negatives, suggesting that it is difficult to identify certain carriers of the virus and that such patients may also increase the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.

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