What body sites produce infectious COVID-19 particles, and in what body sites does COVID-19 replication occur?

Bottom Line:

Infectious virus was found in throat and lung samples, but not stool, urine, or blood samples; active replication of the virus was confirmed in the throat.

Reference:

Wölfel, R. et al. Virological assessment of hospitalized patients with COVID-2019. Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2196-x

Date Published:

1 April 2020

Synopsis:

This study discovered body site-specific virus replication and infectivity. In a sample of nine patients, infectious virus was found in throat and lung samples, but not stool, urine, or blood samples. Active viral replication was confirmed in the throat. This was determined through the isolation of high viral loads in throat swabs and molecular biology techniques (such as polymerase chain reaction). All in all, the virus actively replicates in the upper respiratory tract of infected patients. This information can help researchers determine most optimal protective strategies to reduce spread of the virus.

Summary by:Jackie Tsang