SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity after recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a meta-analysis

SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity after recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a meta-analysis


  • Camilla Mattiuzzi Service of Clinical Governance, Provincial Agency for Social and Sanitary Services, Trento, Italy
  • Brandon M. Henry Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • Fabian Sanchis-Gomar Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Valencia and INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute, Valencia, Spain
  • Giuseppe Lippi Section of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Verona, Verona, Italy


coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, testing, recurrence


Background and aim: Isolation of subjects with active severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a pivotal preventive measure in the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A growing number of studies reported cases of recurrent SARS-CoV-2 RNA positivity following disease recovery, which were identified with a critical literature search and then meta-analyzed in this article. Materials and Methods: A digital search was performed in Medline and Web of Science, using the keywords “coronavirus disease 2019” OR “COVID-19” OR “severe acute respiratory disease 2” OR “SARS-CoV-2” AND “recurrence” OR “repositivization” OR “retesting”, without date or language restrictions. Recovery was defined as resolution of symptoms, with at least two consecutive negative molecular tests. Results: A total number of 17 studies, with 5,182 COVID-19 patients, were included. SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity in recovered COVID-19 patients ranged between 7-23% across the studies, with follow-up testing between 1-60 days. The estimated cumulative rate of SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity was 12% (95% confidence interval, 12-13%; I2, 74%). Conclusions: Repeated molecular testing on respiratory tracts specimens at 1 and 2 months after recovery from COVID-19 is strongly advisable for early identification, isolation and clinical management of subjects with SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity.


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How to Cite

Mattiuzzi C, Henry BM, Sanchis-Gomar F, Lippi G. SARS-CoV-2 recurrent RNA positivity after recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a meta-analysis. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2020 Sep. 7 [cited 2024 Jul. 23];91(3):e2020014. Available from: