This is the first molecular and serological study on this virus after the initial identification of 2019-NCoV from 7 patients diagnosed with unidentified viral pneumonia.
The researchers show that the current strategy for the detection of viral RNA in oral swabs used for 2019-nCoV diagnosis is not perfect. The virus may be present in anal swabs or blood of patients when oral swabs detection negative. It is also worth noting none of the patients with viremia blood had positive swabs. These patients would likely be considered as 2019-nCoV negative through routine surveillance, and thus pose a threat to other people. In contrast, we found viral antibodies in near all patients, indicating serology should be considered for 2019-nCoV epidemiology. A possible shift from oral positive during early infection to anal swab positive during late infection can be observed.
This observation implied that care providers cannot discharge a patient purely based on oral swabs negative, who may still shed the virus by oral–fecal route. Above all, we strongly suggest using viral IgM and IgG serological test to confirm an infection, considering the unreliable results from oral swabs detection.
Molecular and serological investigation of 2019-nCoV infected patients: implication of multiple shedding routes. Emerging Microbes & Infections. Published online: 17 February 2020
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