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Med (N Y) ; 3(6): 351-352, 2022 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1946048


Persistent fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA has remained a clinical feature of interest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this issue of Med, Natarajan et al. report fecal shedding dynamics of individuals diagnosed with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease and sampled longitudinally for up to 10 months1.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Shedding
Lancet Microbe ; 2(6): e259-e266, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164728


BACKGROUND: Faecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 has raised concerns about transmission through faecal microbiota transplantation procedures. Validation parameters of authorised tests for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in respiratory samples are described in product labelling, whereas the published methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection from faecal samples have not permitted a robust description of the assay parameters. We aimed to develop and validate a test specifically for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human stool. METHODS: In this validation study, we evaluated performance characteristics of a reverse transcriptase real-time PCR (RT-rtPCR) test for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human stool specimens by spiking stool with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 material. A modified version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention RT-rtPCR SARS-CoV-2 test was used for detection of viral RNA. Analytical sensitivity was evaluated in freshly spiked stool by testing two-fold dilutions in replicates of 20. Masked samples were tested by a second laboratory to evaluate interlaboratory reproducibility. Short-term (7-day) stability of viral RNA in stool samples was assessed with four different stool storage buffers (phosphate-buffered saline, Cary-Blair medium, Stool Transport and Recovery [STAR] buffer, and DNA/RNA Shield) kept at -80°C, 4°C, and ambient temperature (approximately 21°C). We also tested clinical stool and anal swab specimens from patients who were SARS-CoV-2 positive by nasopharyngeal testing. FINDINGS: The lower limit of detection of the assay was found to be 3000 viral RNA copies per g of original stool sample, with 100% detection across 20 replicates assessed at this concentration. Analytical sensitivity was diminished by approximately two times after a single freeze-thaw cycle at -80°C. At 100 times the limit of detection, spiked samples were generally stable in all four stool storage buffers tested for up to 7 days, with maximum changes in mean threshold cycle values observed at -80°C storage in Cary-Blair medium (from 29·4 [SD 0·27] at baseline to 30·8 [0·17] at day 7; p<0·0001), at 4°C storage in DNA/RNA Shield (from 28·5 [0·15] to 29·8 [0·09]; p=0·0019), and at ambient temperature in STAR buffer (from 30·4 [0·24] to 32·4 [0·62]; p=0·0083). 30 contrived SARS-CoV-2 samples were tested by a second laboratory and were correctly identified as positive or negative in at least one of two rounds of testing. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected using this assay in the stool and anal swab specimens of 11 of 23 individuals known to be positive for SARS-CoV-2. INTERPRETATION: This is a sensitive and reproducible assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in human stool, with potential uses in faecal microbiota transplantation donor screening, sewage monitoring, and further research into the effects of faecal shedding on the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic. FUNDING: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US National Institutes of Health; Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/genetics