Fragments of the virus detected in stool samples seven months after infection could point to the source of Long Covid. Since the pandemic began, many people have reported experiencing symptoms months after becoming infected.
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A recent medical study using stool samples from recovered Covid patients has found that the coronavirus can linger in your gut for seven months – leading scientists to argue the virus can survive for months in hidden viral ‘reservoirs’.
Covid-negative patients with viral fragments in their stools were more likely to report persistent nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting – even after their other symptoms had long since resolved.
In the study, 113 participants took samples over several months. The study’s authors suggest their findings suggest that COVID-19 infects the gut and that this infection persists in people suffering from Long Covid.
While the vast majority of people recover from Covid infection within a few days or weeks, some people report continuing to have symptoms or health problems months after testing positive. This has puzzled scientists who have struggled to explain why this is happening.
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The discovery that a small number of participants, 3.8 percent, were still shedding coronavirus in their stool samples seven months after infection may point to a source of this widespread phenomenon.
In the study, they found traces of Covid-RNA in 85 percent of the samples currently infected with the virus. After a week, this had dropped to half, and after four months, only 12 percent still had a positive stool sample.
“Nobody really knows what causes long COVID,” says study author Dr. Ami Bhatt, Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics for Stanford Medicine at Stanford.
“Perhaps long COVID – and the multitude of symptoms it causes – is due to the immune system’s response to viral proteins in hidden reservoirs throughout the body,” she added.
For example, she speculates that people with long COVID who have cognitive symptoms known as “brain fog” may have persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection in their nervous system – just as people with persistent stomach problems were more likely to continue carrying the virus to pass their feces.
These results come with some challenges. The study drew samples and data from a larger portion of Stanford’s medical research, which asked participants to seal their samples in a bag that would deactivate the virus.
This means that the scientists could only identify the dead fragments of the virus, so could not categorically say that the gut contains live coronavirus.
In response, the study authors point out that viruses similar to Covid have been found in the gut of people during autopsies, including recently discovery of gastrointestinal covid at an autopsy.
What symptoms were identified in this study?
This study identified a wide range of different reported symptoms of Long Covid that they believe may be related to the results of their study. They are:
- Runny nose
- body ache
- stomach pain
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/long-covid-can-linger-your-26881533 Long Covid can linger in your gut for 7 months, study finds - see symptoms