A new research by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the main US health research agency, found that the new coronavirus spreads throughout the human body causing systemic infection and can linger in multiple organs for over seven months.
The study, which is based on autopsies of 44 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 of varying severity, has not been peer-reviewed. The preprint is under review by the publisher of the prestigious Nature magazine.
“We detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple anatomic sites, including regions throughout the brain, for up to 230 days following symptom onset,” the paper read.
Researchers said that the virus had been replicating outside the respiratory system early in infection and spread widely throughout the bodies of even those patients who died with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19. Despite this, no significant inflammation outside of lungs was observed.