Isolation of SARs-CoV-2 from stool specimen of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Isolation of SARs-CoV-2 from a stool specimen of a confirmed case of COVID-19. Jefferson T, Heneghan C.

Published on July 15, 2020

Reference Zhang Y, Cao C, Shuangli Z et al. Isolation of 2019-nCoV from a Stool Specimen of a Laboratory-Confirmed Case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). China CDC Weekly. 2020;2(8):123-4.
Study type
Country China
Setting Unclear
Funding Details National Key Technology R&D Programs of China
Transmission mode Orofecal

Bottom Line

Live virus has been isolated from the stools of one severe pneumonia case, pointing to a possible oro-fecal spread.

Evidence Summary

Live virus in the stools of a Covid-19 patient may mean that in addition to close contact and contact with respiratory secretions of patients, the virus can also be transmitted through the potential fecal-oral route. Potentially this may mean that stool samples may contaminate hands, food and water 

What did they do?

Report of an isolation from a stool specimen of a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 severe pneumonia case. The onset was 16th January 2020; the sample was taken on 1st February 2020 (15 day interval).

Study reliability

A single finding needs replication. Unclear and sparse clinical details.

Clearly defined setting Demographic characteristics described Follow-up length was sufficient Transmission outcomes assessed Main biases are taken into consideration
Unclear No Yes Yes No

What else should I consider?

This is a case report which needs confirmation.

About the authors

Carl Heneghan

Carl is Professor of EBM & Director of CEBM at the University of Oxford. He is also a GP and tweets @carlheneghan. He has an active interest in discovering the truth behind health research findings

Tom Jefferson

Tom Jefferson, epidemiologist.