To determine whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can establish a faecal–oral transmission route, it is essential to confirm that infectious virus particles are shed in faeces from patients with COVID-19. We would like to thank Pedersen et al. for their Correspondence on our Perspective (Guo, M. et al. Potential intestinal infection and faecal–oral transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 18, 269–283 (2021))1, which raises some important issues (Pedersen et al. Rectally shed SARS-CoV-2 lacks infectivity: time to rethink faecal–oral transmission? Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-021-00501-w (2021)).