The accuracy of COVID-19 diagnostic tools in Wuhan, China, has come under speculation after several recovered Coronavirus patients tested negative, as China prepares to lift its quarantine. However, 5-10% of those patients pronounced “recovered” have now tested positive for the deadly virus again.
A portion of those who retested positive is being considered asymptomatic carriers — those who carry the virus and are possibly infectious but do not exhibit any associated symptoms. According to NPR, four of the patients shared being sickened with the virus and tested positive; then were released from medical care after their condition improved, and they tested negative.
The publication reports two of the patients are front-line doctors, sickened after treating patients in their Wuhan hospitals. The other two are Wuhan residents. All four requested anonymity when speaking with NPR because those who have challenged the government’s handling of the outbreak have allegedly been detained.
Virologists believe it is unlikely that a COVID-19 patient could be re-infected so fast after recovery but caution that it is too soon to know. The four individuals are now being isolated under medical observation. It is unclear whether or not they are infectious or why they tested positive after their previous negative test results.