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Research Letter
March 11, 2020

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Types of Clinical Specimens

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, Beijing, China
  • 2Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 3Qingdao Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Qingdao, China
JAMA. 2020;323(18):1843-1844. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3786

An epidemic of respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) began in China and has spread to other countries.1 Real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal swabs typically has been used to confirm the clinical diagnosis.2 However, whether the virus can be detected in specimens from other sites, and therefore potentially transmitted in other ways than by respiratory droplets, is unknown.

We investigated the biodistribution of SARS-CoV-2 among different tissues of inpatients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosed based on symptoms and radiology and confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 detection. This study was approved by the ethics commissions of the participating hospitals, with a waiver of informed consent.