dcyphr | Duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients


Letter to the Editor

COVID-19 is a new infectious disease, which was declared as a pandemic, causing a global public health emergency. This is related with the SARS-CoV-2's high contagiosity and quick transmission.

Previous studies mainly focused on epidemiological characteristics and prevention of COVID-19, while few studies looked on the duration of SARS-CoV-2 carrying in COVID-19 patients. According to the sceintists, learning more about the SARS-CoV-2 carrying duration, the time of infection, as well as its antiviral treatment period can help to a better management and treatment for COVID-19.

The scientists collected the positive SARS-CoV-2 cases and examined the duration for SARS-CoV-2 carrying and its characteristics in different ages, gender and if they had severe or non-severe symptoms. They defined the duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 as the time from a contact with the source of infection to the last positive test. They collected tests from patients with a specific SARS-CoV-2 epidemiological history and a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, in Henan province. 

The scientists collected 161 cases from which 89 (55.3%) were male, and 72 (44.7%) were female. The median duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 was 21 days in 89 male patients, and 20 days in 72 female patients, with no statistically significant difference between them. The scientists found that there were 126 cases in the 0–59 age group with a median duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 of 20 days and 35 cases in the ≥ 60-year-old group with a median time of 28 days. The median duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 was 20 days in the group of the non-severe type, and 27 days in the severe group. 

According to the scientists, 8 results of their study show that the duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 isn't related to gender. Their results indicate that the duration for carrying SARS-CoV-2 is related to the age of patients. The scientists concluded that long existence of virus SARS-CoV-2 in the body could be a reason for the high mortality rate in elderly patients. This study also showed that the virus was carried longer in the severe cases than in the non-severe. 

The scientists concluded that patients infected with COVID-19 tend to have a long SARS-CoV-2 carrying and infectious duration. This could help to better measures for treatment with early isolation and monitoring strategy, as well as longer antiviral therapy for infected patients. Longer SARS-CoV-2 carrying could be a reason for the severity of the condition in elderly and severe patients over 60 years of age.