Comparative analysis of various clinical specimens in detection of SARS-CoV-2 using rRT-PCR in new and follow up cases of COVID-19 infection: Quest for the best choice.

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,643 words
Lexile Measure: 1650L

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Abstract :

Background An appropriate specimen is of paramount importance in Real Time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) based diagnosis of novel coronavirus (nCoV) disease (COVID-19). Thus, it's pertinent to evaluate various diversified clinical specimens' diagnostic utility in both diagnosis and follow-up of COVID-19. Methods A total of 924 initial specimens from 130 COVID-19 symptomatic cases before initiation of treatment and 665 follow up specimens from 15 randomly selected cases comprising of equal number of nasopharyngeal swab (NPS), oropharyngeal swab (OPS), combined NPS and OPS (Combined swab), sputum, plasma, serum and urine were evaluated by rRT-PCR. Results Demographic analysis showed males (86) twice more affected by COVID-19 than females (44) (p = 0.00001). Combined swabs showed a positivity rate of 100% followed by NPS (91.5%), OPS (72.3%), sputum (63%), while nCoV was found undetected in urine, plasma and serum specimens. The lowest cycle threshold (Ct) values of targeted genes E, ORF1b and RdRP are 10.56, 10.14 and 12.26 respectively and their lowest average Ct values were found in combined swab which indicates high viral load in combined swab among all other specimen types. Analysis of 665 follow-up multi-varied specimens also showed combined swab as the last specimen among all specimen types to become negative, after an average 6.6 (range 4-10) days post-treatment, having lowest (15.48) and average (29.96) Ct values of ORF1b respectively indicating posterior nasopharyngeal tract as primary nCoV afflicted site with high viral load. Conclusion The combined swab may be recommended as a more appropriate specimen for both diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-19 treatment by rRT-PCR for assessing virus clearance to help physicians in taking evidence-based decision before discharging patients. Implementing combined swabs globally will definitely help in management and control of the pandemic, as it is the need of the hour.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A657454605