A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that even in people who have asymptomatic or mild cases of COVID-19, the virus continues to exist and cause an infection for months.
The study, described as the most comprehensive analysis of the way COVID-19 works to date, found that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads within days from the airways to the heart, brain, and nearly every organ in the body, where it may stay for months, Fortune reported.
The study involved autopsies on 44 patients who died after contracting COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic in the United States. The study showed that there was persistent SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple parts of the body for as long as 230 days after symptoms began, Fortune reported.
NIH COVID-19 Study by National Content Desk on Scribd
While most of the infection was localized to the lungs and airway, researchers found the virus spread throughout the entire body, including the brain, eyes, muscles, skin and gastrointestinal systems, The Hill reported.
The findings and techniques in the study have not yet been reviewed by independent scientists, and mostly rely on data from deadly COVID-19 cases, not people who have had long COVID-19, Bloomberg reported.
The study was released in manuscript form and is under review for publication in the journal Nature.
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