Correlation Between Relative Nasopharyngeal Virus RNA Load and Lymphocyte Count Disease Severity in Patients with COVID-19
Liu, Yang, et al.
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The aim of this study was to analyze the correlation between dynamic changes in the nasopharyngeal viral load of patients infected with the new coronavirus causing pneumonia and lymphocyte count disease severity. Cases newly diagnosed with COVID-19 at the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University from January 2020 to February 2020 were analyzed retrospectively. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to determine severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from throat swab sample ΔCT values; lymphocyte and lymphocyte subset counts, coagulation system factor levels, myocardial injury indexes, and laboratory biochemical indicators were compared between the mild group and the severe group. The correlation between the relative load of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 RNA and severe disease symptoms was analyzed. Of the 76 patients, 49 were male and 27 were female. The lymphocyte, CD4+ T lymphocyte, and CD8+ T lymphocyte counts all differed significantly between the two groups (p < 0.001), as did differences in interleukin (IL)-2R, IL-6, and IL-8 levels (p = 0.022, 0.026, and 0.012, respectively). Moreover, there were significant differences in prothrombin time, D-dimer, and fibrinogen levels between the mild group and the severe group (p = 0.029, 0.006, and <0.001, respectively), and in lactate dehydrogenase and troponin (p < 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). SARS-CoV-2 RNA load and lymphocyte count, CD4+ T lymphocyte count, and CD8+ T lymphocyte count were linearly negatively correlated (p < 0.001). SARS-CoV-2 RNA load was positively correlated with IL-2R, prothrombin time, lactate dehydrogenase, and hypersensitive troponin T (p = 0.002, p = 0.009, and p < 0.001, respectively). In addition, the time that it took for the nucleic acid test to turn negative was significantly shorter for patients in the mild group than for those in the severe group (Z = −6.713, p < 0.001). In conclusion, relative SARS-CoV-2 RNA load in the nasopharynx is closely related to COVID-19 severity. If the relative RNA load was higher, the lymphocyte count was lower, organ damage was greater, and the time it took for the nucleic acid test to turn negative was longer.