Scientists are trying to unravel the link between long Covid and viral fragments found in the body months after the initial infection, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
Findings in the journal Nature revealed that fragments of SARS-CoV-2 can persist in the gut for months after an initial infection. The researchers have, however, concluded that additional studies still need to be done to validate this hypothesis.
Oncologist and geneticist at Stanford, California, USA Ami Bhatt was intrigued to see the widespread gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea in people infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers began collecting stool samples from people with Covid-19 to discover a possible link between the virus and gastrointestinal symptoms. Puzzled by reports of intestinal symptoms in infected people, Gastroenterology intern Timon Adolph began to collect biopsies of gastrointestinal tissue together with his colleagues at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria.They could therefore be part of the list of symptoms of long Covid defined as symptoms which persist beyond 12 weeks after an acute infection, according to scientists.
For their part, scientists at the University of Innsbruck have collected fragments of gastrointestinal tissue via biopsies from sick patients.As a result, the researchers found that 32 of the 46 participants in their study had been diagnosed with a mild form of the coronavirus, but that viral molecules were still present in their gut seven months later an acute infection.
The researchers found that the volunteers with the coronavirus “continued to excrete viral RNA in their stool seven months after an initial mild or moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection, well after their respiratory symptoms had ceased.”In addition, around two-thirds of these 32 people had other symptoms of long Covid.