Turkish Journal of Urology
GENERAL UROLOGY - Invited Review

COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in Non-Airborne body fluids: A systematic review & Meta-analysis


Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK


Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK


Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK


Department of Haematology, Manchester University Hospitals, Manchester, UK


Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle, UK


Bristol Urological Institute, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK

Turk J Urol 2021; 47: 87-97
DOI: 10.5152/tud.2021.20586
Read: 363 Downloads: 142 Published: 01 March 2021

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has been predominantly respiratory. This study aimed to evaluate the presence of virus in non-airborne body fluids as transmission vehicles. Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were searched from December 01, 2019, to July 01, 2020, using terms relating to SARS-CoV-2 and non-airborne clinical sample sources (feces, urine, blood, serum, serum, and peritoneum). Studies in humans, of any design, were included. Risk of bias assessment was performed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy 2 tool. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses) guidelines were used for abstracting data. If ≥5 studies reported proportions for the same non-respiratory site, a meta-analysis was conducted using either a fixed or random-effects model, depending on the presence of heterogeneity. A total of 22 studies with 648 patients were included. Most were cross-sectional and cohort studies. The SARS-CoV-2 RNA was most frequently detected in feces. Detectable RNA was reported in 17% of the blood samples, 8% of the serum, 16% in the semen, but rarely in urine. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in non-airborne sites varies widely with a third of non-airborne fluids. Patients with bowel and non-specific symptoms have persistence of virus in feces for upto 2 weeks after symptom resolution. Although there was a very low detection rate in urine, given the more frequent prevalence in blood samples, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with disrupted urothelium or undergoing urinary tract procedures, is likely to be higher. Healthcare providers need to consider non-airborne transmission and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in body fluids to enable appropriate precautions to protect healthcare workers and carers.

Cite this article as: Johnson H, Garg M, Shantikumar S, Thachil J, Rai B, Aboumarzouk OM, et al. COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in Non-Airborne body fluids: A systematic review & Meta-analysis. Turk J Urol 2021; 47(2): 87-97.

EISSN 2149-3057