Researchers behind a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have reported that some individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 could indeed still continue to carry the virus and could spread the infection to others.
The study reveals that close to 17 percent of patients who are considered as fully recovered from COVID-19 tested positive for the virus in follow-up screening. The study observed that COVID-19 victims who continued to have respiratory symptoms, especially sore throat and rhinitis post their recovery from the virus were more likely to have a new positive test result.
The team has COVID-19 victims who have recovered to remain cautious and avoid close contact with others.
Francesco Landi from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy, the lead author of the study remarked that “Clinicians and researchers have focused on the acute phase of COVID-19, but continued monitoring after discharge for long-lasting effects is needed.”
The research team conducted their study on 131 patients two weeks after their discontinuation of the WHO mandated quarantine.
The WHO criteria specify that the patient should be fever-free without fever-reducing medications for three days, show improvement in any symptoms related to Covid-19, be more than seven days past symptom onset, and test negative for the virus twice, with reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) testing.
A new RT-PCR test was administered at the time of post-acute care admission.
Researchers collected various demographic, medical, and clinical information while focusing on persistent COVID-19 related symptoms and signs COVID-19 such as cough, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, smelling disorders, loss of appetite, sore throat, and rhinitis.
The findings showed that 16.7 percent of the patients tested positive again with no difference between patients with positive and negative test results in terms of age or sex.
None of the patients had a fever and all reported improvement in their overall clinical condition.
The only two symptoms that were higher and significantly prevalent in patients with a positive test were sore throat (18 percent vs 4 percent) and signs of rhinitis (27 percent vs 2 percent).
“Our findings indicate that a noteworthy rate of recovered patients with COVID-19 could still be asymptomatic carriers of the virus,” Dr. Landi commented.