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Higher SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load Tied to Shorter Symptom Duration

No significant associations identified between VL, ICU admission, length of oxygen support, survival

doctor in a lab  with a blood tube labeled covid-19

THURSDAY, July 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Viral load (VL) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is lower in hospitalized patients, and higher VL is associated with a shorter duration of symptoms and hospital stay, according to a study published online July 2 in The American Journal of Pathology.

Kimon V. Argyropoulos, M.D., from NYU Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues examined the associations between VL and parameters such as symptom severity, disposition, length of hospitalization, and admission to the intensive care unit in a cohort of 205 patients from a tertiary care center.

The researchers found that after adjustment for age, sex, race, body mass index, and comorbidities, diagnostic VL was significantly lower in hospitalized than nonhospitalized patients (log10 VL, 3.3 versus 4.0). In all patients and hospitalized patients only, higher VL was associated with a shorter duration of symptoms and shorter hospital stay. There was no significant association noted between VL, intensive care unit admission, length of oxygen support, and overall survival.

"While it seems that diagnostic viral load has no prognostic utility in terms of outcome prediction, it is an important surrogate epidemiological marker of infectivity notably in mildly symptomatic, nonhospitalized patients," the authors write.

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