The Critical Role Stool Testing Plays in SARS-CoV-2
Emerging research indicates that stool testing for SARS-CoV-2 may be tremendously helpful in screening and monitoring for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
Research indicates that as many as 50% of patients who are positive for SARS-CoV-2 experience gastrointestinal symptoms.1
In one study, up to 10% of patients experienced gastrointestinal symptoms one to two days before they developed respiratory symptoms.2
Evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 is detectable in stool for up to five weeks after clearance from the respiratory tract.3
Stool testing using RT-PCR technology is an important monitoring tool for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.3
RT-PCR stool testing for SARS-CoV-2 has been deemed critical in monitoring patients – so much so that a recent article in The Lancet states:"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. 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." 4