Chinese scientists from Guangzhou Medical University succeeded for the first time detect live SARS-CoV-2 from the feces of patients who died from covid-19, suggesting that the coronavirus It can be transmitted through inhalation of infected excreta particles.

“Isolation of infectious SARS-CoV-2 in faeces indicates the possibility of fecal-oral transmission or fecal-respiratory transmission through aerosol feces“wrote the study authors, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Normally, people become infected after someone who is sick coughs or sneezes, spraying droplets that carry viruses in the air, which are inhaled by others. But Chinese researchers claim they found fragments of the virus’s genetic material in fecal samples. of about a dozen patients.

RNA and viral load

In the framework of the investigation, The team observed a 78-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. He was hospitalized in Guangzhou on January 17 with a cough, irregular fever and abnormal chest CT scans.

Five days later, on January 22, his condition worsened and the patient was connected to an artificial respirator. The tests detected the RNA of the virus in four stool samples that were collected between January 27 and February 7. The man passed away on February 20.

Later, researchers collected stool samples from 27 other patients, 11 of which contained viral RNA. Further, the team isolated live SARS-CoV-2 in samples from two patients, “indicating that infectious virus in feces is a common manifestation of covid-19,” the study reports. as published by RT.

Also, stool samples collected 17 to 28 days after symptoms started. they had higher DNA loads from the virus than respiratory samples. The live virus could not be isolated from the fecal samples collected after 28 days, but viral RNA, i.e. only RNA fragments, not infectious viruses, was found.