Study: Coronavirus Stays in Organs for Months
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 27 December 2021 07:08 PM
The virus that causes COVID-19 can remain for months after infection in different parts of the body, including the heart and brain, according to a new study, The Hill reported.
National Institutes of Health scientists performed autopsies on the bodies of 44 people who died either from or with COVID-19 in order to examine the distribution of the virus throughout the body.
They discovered that it can spread extensively from the respiratory tract to virtually every other organ, even among patients with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19.
The findings, which helped illuminate more details about patients who suffer from ''long COVID-19,'' were released online, with researchers describing the study as the ''most comprehensive analysis to date'' of the ability of the virus to remain in the body and brain.
Daniel Chertow, the main investigator in the NIH emerging pathogens section, said that RNA from the virus was discovered in patients as long as 230 days after the onset of symptoms.
The virus was detected in all 44 cases and across 79 of 85 anatomical locations and body fluids sampled, The Hill reported.
The study indicated that the virus can ''disseminate early during infection and infect cells throughout the entire body,'' including in the brain, ocular tissue, muscles, skin, peripheral nerves and tissues in the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and lymphatic systems.
Researchers said that the ''highest burden'' of infection was in the lungs and airway and explained that the ''data support an early viremic phase, which seeds the virus throughout the body following pulmonary infection.''
Since the study was carried out on the bodies of those who died in the first year of the pandemic before vaccines were available, it is unclear what issues fully vaccinated people will have if they get infected.