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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the natural history of asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. METHODS: We conducted a prospective study at a quarantine center for coronavirus disease 2019 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We enrolled quarantined people with reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, collecting clinical data, travel and contact history, and saliva at enrollment and daily nasopharyngeal/throat swabs (NTSs) for RT-PCR testing. We compared the natural history and transmission potential of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. RESULTS: Between 10 March and 4 April 2020, 14 000 quarantined people were tested for SARS-CoV-2; 49 were positive. Of these, 30 participated in the study: 13 (43%) never had symptoms and 17 (57%) were symptomatic. Seventeen (57%) participants imported cases. Compared with symptomatic individuals, asymptomatic people were less likely to have detectable SARS-CoV-2 in NTS collected at enrollment (8/13 [62%] vs 17/17 [100%]; P = .02). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 20 of 27 (74%) available saliva samples (7 of 11 [64%] in the asymptomatic group and 13 of 16 [81%] in the symptomatic group; P = .56). Analysis of RT-PCR positivity probability showed that asymptomatic participants had faster viral clearance than symptomatic participants (P 

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





2679 - 2687


COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Vietnam, coronaviruses, pandemic, COVID-19, Humans, Prospective Studies, RNA, Viral, SARS-CoV-2, Vietnam