Implications of SARS-CoV-2 in gut tissue for transmission of COVID-19 and long COVID

Simon Collins, HIVĀ­ i-Base

Many questions related to the implications of SARS-CoV-2 involvement in gut tissue and the GI track are still unclear.

These are discussed in a recent article and editorial in JAMA, including the potential role in long COVID when this is not cleared early. Also whether this might continue to be a risk for further transmission. [1, 2]

Summary points from the main article include:

  • Roughly 50% of people shed SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the week after COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • SARS-CoV-2 RNA can also be found in 4% people after seven months.
  • Presence of fecal SARS-CoV-2 RNA is associated with GI symptoms.
  • Active infection of GI tissue is likely.


  1. Natarajan A et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms and fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA suggest prolonged gastrointestinal infection. Med (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.medj.2022.04.001. (12 April 2022).
  2. Rubin R. SARS-CoV-2 RNA can persist in stool months after respiratory tract clears virus. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.7892. (18 May 2022).

This report was first published on 19 May 2022.

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