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    Identification of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by RT-PCR from a nasopharyngeal swab sample is a common test for diagnosing COVID-19. However, some patients present clinical, laboratorial, and radiological evidence of COVID-19 infection with negative RT-PCR result(s). Thus, we assessed whether positive results were associated with intubation and mortality. This study was conducted in a Brazilian tertiary hospital from March to August of 2020. All patients had clinical, laboratory, and radiological diagnosis of COVID-19. They were divided into two groups: positive (+) RT-PCR group, with 2292 participants, and negative (-) RT-PCR group, with 706 participants. Patients with negative RT-PCR testing and an alternative most probable diagnosis were excluded from the study. The RT-PCR(+) group presented increased risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, length of hospital stay, and 28-day mortality, when compared to the RT-PCR(-) group. A positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR result was independently associated with intubation and 28 day in-hospital mortality. Accordingly, we concluded that patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis based on clinical data, despite a negative RT-PCR test from nasopharyngeal samples, presented more favorable outcomes than patients with positive RT-PCR test(s).


    Maria Clara Saad Menezes, Diego Vinicius Santinelli Pestana, Juliana Carvalho Ferreira, Carlos Roberto Ribeiro de Carvalho, Marcelo Consorti Felix, Izabel Oliva Marcilio, Katia Regina da Silva, Vilson Cobello Junior, Julio Flavio Marchini, Julio Cesar Alencar, Luz Marina Gomez Gomez, Denis Deratani Mauá, Heraldo Possolo Souza, Emergency Usp Covid-Group, Hcfmusp Covid-Study Group. Distinct Outcomes in COVID-19 Patients with Positive or Negative RT-PCR Test. Viruses. 2022 Jan 18;14(2)

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    PMID: 35215772

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