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COVID-19

Results of an early second PCR test performed on SARS-CoV-2 positive patients may indicate risk for severe COVID-19

Goal
This study suggests that multiple SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing may be used as an early, wide-spread complementary tool for risk assessment and subsequent appropriate disease management.
Impact
Applying this tool in the clinical may alert physicians to patients at deterioration risk early and facilitate early treatment interventions, extend/limit isolation and allow better patient monitoring in hospital or at home.
Collaborator(s)
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Maccabi Institute for Research and Innovation

Identifying patients at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is of high priority during the pandemic as it could affect clinical management and shape public health guidelines. In this study we assessed whether a second PCR test conducted 2-7 days after a SARS-CoV-2 positive test could identify patients at risk for severe illness. Analysis of a nationwide electronic health records data of 1,683 SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals indicated that a second negative PCR test result was associated with lower risk for severe illness compared to a positive result.

This association was seen across different age groups and clinical settings. More importantly, it was not limited to recovering patients but also observed in patients who still had evidence of COVID-19 as determined by a subsequent positive PCR test. Our study suggests that an early second PCR test may be used as an additional risk-assessment tool to improve disease management and patient care.

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