Prolonged presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in faecal samples

Our data suggest the possibility of extended duration of viral shedding in faeces, for nearly 5 weeks after the patients’ respiratory samples tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Although knowledge about the viability of SARS-CoV-2 is limited, the virus could remain viable in the environment for days, which could lead to faecal–oral transmission, as seen with severe acute respiratory virus CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV.2 Therefore, routine stool sample testing with real-time RT-PCR is highly recommended after the clearance of viral RNA in a patient’s respiratory samples. Strict precautions to prevent transmission should be taken for patients who are in hospital or self-quarantined if their faecal samples test positive.

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