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Abstract

Objectives: In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-infected pneumonia (COVID-19) occurred in Wuhan, China. Laboratory-based diagnostic tests utilized real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on throat samples. This study evaluated the diagnostic value to analyzing throat and sputum samples in order to improve accuracy and detection efficiency.Methods: Paired specimens of throat swabs and sputum were obtained from 54 cases, and RNA was extracted and tested for 2019-nCoV (equated with SARS-CoV-2) by the RT-PCR assay.Results: The positive rates of 2019-nCoV from sputum specimens and throat swabs were 76.9% and 44.2%, respectively. Sputum specimens showed a significantly higher positive rate than throat swabs in detecting viral nucleic acid using the RT-PCR assay (p = 0.001).Conclusions: The detection rates of 2019-nCoV from sputum specimens were significantly higher than those from throat swabs. We suggest that sputum would benefit for the detection of 2019-nCoV in patients who produce sputum. The results can facilitate the selection of specimens and increase the accuracy of diagnosis.

Authors

Lin, Chenyao;  Xiang, Jie;  Yan, Mingzhe;  Li, Hongze;  Huang, Shuang;  Shen, Changxin

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