(Heidi Ledford/ Nature) — In the chaos of the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, oncologist and geneticist Ami Bhatt was intrigued by widespread reports of vomiting and diarrhoea in people infected with SARS-CoV-2.
“At that time, this was thought to be a respiratory virus,” she says. Bhatt and her colleagues, curious about a possible link between the virus and the gastrointestinal symptoms, began to collect stool samples from people with COVID-19.
Thousands of miles away from Bhatt’s laboratory at Stanford Medicine in California, gastroenterology internist Timon Adolph was puzzled by accounts of gut symptoms in infected people. Adolph and his colleagues at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria started to assemble specimens, too — gastrointestinal-tissue biopsies. (…)