Patients Test Positive for Nucleic Acid After Being Discharged?

It was reported that 14% of all patients in Guangdong who had been discharged tested positive for traces of nucleic acid - the makeup of a virus genome. 

Does that mean patients have somehow contracted the virus again? 

Pneumonia is a prolonged disease that may take two to three months to recover from. It can take especially longer for older patients or those with below-average health conditions.

Song Tie, Deputy Director of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, shared valuable information at a press conference on precautionary measures required to be put in place when it comes to checking in with and retesting previously positive patients for nucleic acid.

If a patient shows positive signs of an infection, strict centralized medical observation will be arranged to manage the infection and analyze its behavior over time. 

As of yet, none of the 14% identified have reportedly infected others, and have been monitored by medical experts in designated centers for further observation.

Depending on the severity of their infection, most patients lungs may not achieve full clinical recovery.

From the characteristics of microorganisms, people infected with the virus will produce antibodies which are not transmissible. Laboratory observations have found that young people develop antibodies within two weeks. Even if they test positive for nucleic acid, the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus again is very low.

However, it takes longer for older patients to produce antibodies, hence the higher risk of infection.

The national diagnosis and treatment program for the reexamination of nucleic acid demands that discharged patients must be put under attentive medical observation for 14 days upon release, hoping that they may continue living their lives in the healthiest conditions possible after those 14 days by, hopefully, testing negative when re-tested. 

Source: Xinhua

Editor: Crystal H