SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Patients with coronavirus can keep the pathogens in their respiratory system for as long as 37 days, according to a new study.

Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study said doctors in China detected the virus’ RNA in respiratory samples from survivors of a median of 20 days after they became infected.

The authors of the study, including Fei Zhou from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, reported the findings had “important implications for both patient isolation decision-making and guidance around the length of antiviral treatment.”

At this time the recommended isolation period after exposure is 14 days.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries and infected about 125,000 people since it first emerged in December of last year in Wuhan, China.

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