Predictive Factors for a New Positive Nasopharyngeal Swab Among Patients Recovered From COVID-19

Francesco Landi, Angelo Carfì, Francesca Benvenuto, Vincenzo Brandi, Francesca Ciciarello, Maria Rita Lo Monaco, Anna Maria Martone, Carmen Napolitano, Francesco Cosimo Pagano, Annamaria Paglionico, Luca Petricca, Sara Rocchi, Elisabetta Rota, Andrea Salerno, Marcello Tritto, Elisa Gremese, Roberto Bernabei

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Introduction: As an emerging infectious disease, the clinical and virologic course of COVID-19 requires better investigation. The aim of this study is to identify the potential risk factors associated with persistent positive nasopharyngeal swab real-time reverse transcription‒polymerase chain reaction tests in a large sample of patients who recovered from COVID-19. Methods: After the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 epidemic infection, the Fondazione Policlinico A. Gemelli IRCSS of Rome established a post-acute care service for patients discharged from the hospital and recovered from COVID-19. Between April 21 and May 21, 2020, a total of 137 individuals who officially recovered from COVID-19 were enrolled in this study. All patients were tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus with nucleic acid RT-PCR tests. Analysis was conducted in June 2020. Results: Of the 131 patients who repeated the nasopharyngeal swab, 22 patients (16.7%) tested positive again. Some symptoms such as fatigue (51%), dyspnea (44%), and coughing (17%) were still present in a significant percentage of the patients, with no difference between patients with a negative test and those who tested positive. The likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly higher among participants with persistent sore throat (prevalence ratio=6.50, 95% CI=1.38, 30.6) and symptoms of rhinitis (prevalence ratio=3.72, 95% CI=1.10, 12.5). Conclusions: This study is the first to provide a given rate of patients (16.7%) who test positive on RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid after recovering from COVID-19. These findings suggest that a significant proportion of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 still could be potential carriers of the virus. In particular, if patients continue to have symptoms related to COVID-19, such as sore throat and rhinitis, it is reasonable to be cautious by avoiding close contact, wearing a face mask, and possibly repeating a nasopharyngeal swab.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)13-19
Numero di pagine7
RivistaAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing
  • Carrier State
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharynx
  • Pharyngitis
  • RNA, Viral
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhinitis
  • SARS-CoV-2


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