Stability issues of RT‐PCR testing of SARS‐CoV‐2 for hospitalized patients clinically diagnosed with COVID‐19

False negative results from the standard test for COVID-19 mean that more people probably have the virus than might be expected. This would mean that a smaller proportion of the total is dying and COVID-19 might be less lethal than it seems

  • 610 hospitalized patients from Wuhan studied between February 2, 2020, and February 17, 2020.

  • The study revealed a potentially high false negative rate of real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the 610 hospitalized patients clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 during the 2019 outbreak.

  • RT-PCR results from several tests at different points were variable from the same patients during the course of diagnosis and treatment of these patients.

  • These results suggested the urgent needs for the standard of procedures of sampling from different anatomic sites, sample transportation, optimization of RT-PCR, serology diagnosis/screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and distinct diagnosis from other respiratory diseases such as fluenza infections as well.