Semiquantitative values of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in upper respiratory samples at ICU admission were retrieved from clinical files for 40 patients. These results were obtained from accredited reference laboratory using RT-PCR technique with validated commercial kits (COBAS® SARS-CoV-2, Roche Diagnostics or reference technique from Pasteur Institute) based on recommendations from the Societé Française de Microbiology after evaluation of analytical performances of the techniques [21]. Patients were classified into three groups according to SARS-CoV-2 PCR Ct values reflecting respiratory viral load at admission (1) A significant viral excretion (ct value ≤ 33) subsequently divided into two groups: high viral load (Reference Ct value < 27, n = 12) and medium viral load (Reference Ct value = [27–33], n = 21); (2) a nonsignificant viral excretion corresponding to a low viral load (Reference Ct value = [33–37], n = 7).

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