SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viral loads and association with clinical and biological features

Adrien Biguenet, Kevin Bouiller, Solène Marty-Quinternet, Anne Sophie Brunel, Catherine Chirouze, Quentin Lepiller

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3 Scopus citations


To determine the distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) respiratory viral loads (VL) during the acute phase of infection and their correlation with clinical presentation and inflammation-related biomarkers. Nasopharyngeal swabs from 453 adult SARS-CoV-2-infected patients from the Department of Infectious Diseases, Besançon, France, were collected at the time of admission or consultation for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. Clinical information and concentrations of biological parameters (C-reactive protein [CRP], fibrinogen, lactate dehydrogenase [LDH], prealbumin) were noticed. Mean respiratory VL homogeneously decreased from 7.2 log copies/ml (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.6–7.8) on the first day of symptoms until 4.6 log copies/ml (95% CI: 3.8–5.4) at day 10 (slope = −0.24; R =.95). VL were poorly correlated with COVID-19 symptoms and outcome, excepted for dyspnea and anosmia, which were significantly associated with lower VL (p <.05). CRP, fibrinogen, and LDH concentrations significantly increased over the first 10 days (median CRP concentrations from 36.8 mg/L at days 0–1 to 99.5 mg/L at days 8–10; p <.01), whereas prealbumin concentrations tended to decrease. Since SARS-CoV-2 respiratory VL regularly decrease in the acute phase of infection, determining the level of VL may help predicting the onset of virus shedding in a specific patient. However, the role of SARS-CoV-2 VL as a biomarker of severity is limited. 10 10 2
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

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