Retrospective Search for SARS-CoV-2 in Human Faecal Metagenomes

9 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2020 Last revised: 3 Apr 2020

See all articles by Simone Rampelli

Simone Rampelli

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Elena Biagi

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Silvia Turroni

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Marco Candela

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Date Written: March 19, 2020

Abstract

In the present study, we use ViromeScan to retrospectively search for SARS-CoV-2 genomic traces in human faecal viromes from publicly available metagenomes. Data from this preliminary, exploratory investigation provide evidence to support the presence of genomic traces of SARS-CoV-2 in the faecal virome of 6 out of 26 presumably asymptomatic Chinese, whose biological samples were collected before April 2019. By contrast, no SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the faecal viromes from 12 EU citizens, for whom faecal sampling dates back to March-April 2013 for Italians and before November 2019 for Spaniards. If confirmed on a larger population, our findings may reveal glimpses to support the recently advanced hypothesis suggesting the possible presence of a most recent common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 in the human population before the outbreak of the current pandemic, possibly in an inactive non-virulent form, with important implications for the current unprecedented coordinated international effort to control the global spread of the virus.

Note: Funding: The authors received no financial support for the research of this article.

Competing Interest Declaration: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, human virome, metegenomics

Suggested Citation

Rampelli, Simone and Biagi, Elena and Turroni, Silvia and Candela, Marco, Retrospective Search for SARS-CoV-2 in Human Faecal Metagenomes (March 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3557962 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3557962

Simone Rampelli (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health ( email )

Italy

Elena Biagi

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Italy

Silvia Turroni

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health

Italy

Marco Candela

University of Bologna - Unit of Microbial Ecology of Health ( email )

Italy

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