Near to 17% of patients who were considered fully recovered from Covid-19 tested positive for the virus in follow-up tests carried out by the Polliclinico Universitario Fondazione Agostino Gemelli in Rome (Italy), which confirms that they could continue to be carriers of this disease.

“Our findings indicate that a remarkable rate of recovered patients with Covid-19 they could continue to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. The main question for the containment of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic infection that still needs to be answered is whether the persistent presence of virus fragments means that patients are still contagious, “said the study leader, Francesco Landi.

The research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that the persistence of symptoms such as sore throat and rhinitis, after suffering from the disease, and that should be properly evaluated in all patients who are considered recovered from coronavirus.

The study involved 131 patients who met the criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) for suspension of quarantine at least two weeks before the follow-up visit. That is, all those involved had to be fever-free without fever-reducing drugs for three days, show an improvement in any symptoms related to the virus, be more than seven days late in the onset of symptoms and give twice negative results for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with a minimum interval of 24 hours, in PCR tests.

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Still, until 22 (16.7 percent) of the patients tested positive again, without even having significant differences between the positives and negatives in terms of age or sex. The time elapsed since the onset of the disease, the number of days of hospitalization and the treatments received during the hospitalization were not significant either.

However, some symptoms such as fatigue (51%), shortness of breath (44%) and cough (17%) were still present in a significant percentage of the patients studied. The only two symptoms that were higher and more prevalent in patients with a positive test were sore throat (18% vs. 4%) and signs of rhinitis (27% vs. 2%).