While the number of coronavirus cases is increasing rapidly around the world, in a recent study, Chinese doctors found the deadly virus in the sputum and faecal samples of some patients with negative pharyngeal swabs. The study published in the journal Annals Of Internal Medicine also found that several patients had positive real-time fluorescence polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results for coronavirus in the sputum of faeces after the swabs became negative.
The recent findings have raised concern over whether patients with negative swabs are truly virus-free or if sampling of additional body sites might be needed. According to the study, the Chinese doctors retrospectively identified a convenience same of patients who were admitted to a Beijing hospital with a diagnosis of COVID-19. They further paired RT-PCR testing of swabs with either sputum or faeces.
Out of the 133 patients, the researchers reportedly identified 22 with an initial or follow- up positive sputum or faecal samples paired with a follow-up negative pharyngeal sample. As per the research, RT-PCR positive for coronavirus of sputum and faeces was seen up to 39 and 13 days, respectively, after the obtained pharyngeal samples were negative.
According to reports, the findings are potentially important as they suggest that more study is needed, however, the researchers also cautioned that the study was not carried out in a systematic manner with a sampling of all patients in a protocolised manner, and it is not known whether the positive sputum or faecal results indicate that the patient could still be infectious to others.
Meanwhile, according to another study conducted by Britain’s Imperial College, the death count from the coronavirus pandemic could hit 1.8 million worldwide. The Imperial College modelling simulations are based on the current data about the magnitude of the severity of the virus, its estimated mortality rate, contagiousness and the demographic and societal factors. The study reveals that if left unchecked, COVID-19 could have infected almost everyone on the planet this year, killing 40 million people, as per reports.
The report also discusses the varying levels of response, ranging from spontaneous social distancing to the tough lockdown measures that have been imposed in the worst-affected countries, and projects the potential health impacts across 202 countries.