Published October 14, 2020 | Version v1
Preprint Open

Increase of SARS-CoV-2 RNA load in faecal samples prompts for rethinking of SARS-CoV-2 biology and COVID-19 epidemiology

  • 1. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
  • 2. Craniomed Group srl, Montemiletto, Italy
  • 3. ISB Ion Source & Biotechnologies Srl, Bresso, Italy
  • 4. Department of Medicine and Surgery University of Salerno, Baronissi, Italy
  • 5. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Geel, Belgium



Scientific evidence for the involvement of human microbiota in the development of COVID-19 disease was reported recently. We elaborated these findings further and collected data on the relationship between faecal bacteria, isolated from stool from COVID-19 patients, and SARS-CoV-2. The preliminary results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 replicates in bacterial growth medium inoculated with a stool sample from an infected patient and that the replication follows bacterial growth.

These results are unexpected and when confirmed on large sample sizes hint towards novel hypotheses on the biology of SARS-CoV-2 and on the COVID-19 epidemiology.

The data reported here suggest a possible ‘bacteriophage-like’ behaviour of SARS-CoV-2, which to our knowledge was never observed or described before. The discovery of possible new modes of action of SARS-CoV-2 has far-reaching implications for the prevention and the treatment of the disease, necessitating quick sharing of even preliminary findings with the global scientific community.


DECLARATION The scientific output expressed does not imply a policy position of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use that might be made of this publication.



Files (6.0 MB)

Name Size Download all
5.9 MB Preview Download
91.2 kB Preview Download