SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus is an enveloped, single stranded RNA virus and member of the family Coronaviridae. It has been shown that the human gastrointestinal tract serves as an important reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 and that the virus can be detected in faecal samples for up to 40 days after infection (Xu et al. 2020, Wu et al. 2020).
SARS-CoV-2 can infiltrate gastrointestinal (GI) cells and may cause GI infection (Xiao et al. 2020). Furthermore, studies have suggested that fecal-oral virus transmission could be an important route for COVID-19 spread (Hindson et al. 2020). This means that patients can be SARS-CoV-2 positive and
possibly infectious for several weeks after nasopharyngeal (PCR) test results are negative and symptoms have disappeared.
Thus, there is a need for establishing follow-up regimes for COVID-19 patients that includes faecal SARS-CoV-2 testing which may demonstrate that, once negative, the patient is no longer infectious. This could provide significant benefits and reassurance in social distancing models and return to work policies.