Published online Nov 7, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i41.6335
Peer-review started: July 22, 2020
First decision: August 8, 2020
Revised: August 10, 2020
Accepted: September 25, 2020
Article in press: September 25, 2020
Published online: November 7, 2020
Core Tip: Although the main route of spread and symptomatology of coronavirus disease 2019 is closely related to the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract could be an alternative and potential route of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission and manifestation, most probably as a result of the overexpression of angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) receptors in the digestive system. Thus, this review primarily focuses on the analysis of some critical elements regarding the SARS-CoV-2 genome and its general characteristics, but most importantly, intends to highlight the role of ACE2 receptors in both SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis, especially in the gastrointestinal tract.