COVID-19 may persist in the gut even after the virus has been cleared from the airways — suggesting that fecal matter could be a better way to detect the virus than traditional nose swabs, according to a new study.
The study, which was published in the medical journal GUT, said the virus may continue to infect the digestive tract even if a patient isn’t suffering from any gastrointestinal symptoms.
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said stool samples could be used to detect the virus.
They looked at the stool samples of 15 COVID-19 patients and found active gut viral infections in seven — even without any gastrointestinal symptoms.
Three of them continued to suffer from active gut viral infections for as long as six days after their respiratory samples tested negative for the virus, researchers said.
Researchers said the findings suggest that stool samples may be a better way to detect the virus.
Paul Chan, chairman of the university’s Department of Microbiology, noted that children are particularly good candidates for stool samples since their viral load was “many times higher” than that of adults.
“Stool specimens are more convenient, safe and non-invasive to collect in the pediatric population and can give accurate results,” Chan said in a statement.
With Post wires.