Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2021. 12:19 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: A new COVID-19 study shows that COVID-19 can remain in different parts of the body months after infection, including the heart and brain.
According to the study released on Christmas Day, scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found out that the coronavirus can spread from the lungs to practically all organs of the human body and stay there for months.
The “most comprehensive analysis to date” comes after researchers performed autopsies on 44 patients who died either from or with COVID-19 to map and quantify the coronavirus distribution and replication, across the human body, including the brain.
The researchers found out that in cases of “lung COVID-19”, the virus was still present seven months after the patients developed the disease. The study showed that the virus was “widely distributed, even among patients who died with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19, and that virus replication is present in multiple pulmonary and extrapulmonary tissues early in infection”.
The coronavirus RNA was found in multiple parts of the body including “regions throughout the brain, for up to 230 days following symptom onset”.
The autopsies were performed between April 26, 2020, and March 2, 2021.
The virus RNA was found in all cases and had spread across 79 of 85 anatomical locations and body fluids sampled.
The coronavirus RNA was detected in respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphoid, gastrointestinal, renal and endocrine, reproductive, muscle, skin, adipose, peripheral nervous, ocular, and brain tissues.
Though the “highest-burden” of infection was found to be in the lungs and airways, the researchers found out that “the virus can disseminate early during infection and infect cells throughout the entire body, including widely throughout the brain”.
These data suggested that COVID-19 can replicate within tissue up to three months after infection in some individuals and that the RNA can stay in certain organs for up to 230 days.
It’s mindful to say that the autopsies were conducted in the first year of the pandemic on bodies of persons who died before vaccines were available.
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