Computed tomography colonography (CTC) or CT-based virtual colonoscopy (VC) is an emerging tool for detection of colonic polyps. Compared to the conventional fiber-optic colonoscopy, VC has demonstrated the potential to become a mass screening modality in terms of safety, cost, and patient compliance. However, current CTC delivers excessive X-ray radiation to the patient during data acquisition. The radiation dose is a major concern for screening application of CTC. In this work, we performed a simulation study to demonstrate a possible ultra low-dose CT technique for VC. The ultra low-dose abdominal CT images were simulated by adding noise to the sinograms of the patient CTC images acquired with normal dose scans at 100 mAs levels. The simulated noisy sinogram or projection data were first processed by a Karhunen-Loève domain penalized weighted least squares (KL-PWLS) restoration method and then reconstructed by a filtered backprojection algorithm for the ultra low-dose CT images. The patient-specific virtual colon lumen was constructed and navigated by a VC system after electronic colon cleansing of the orally-tagged residue stool and fluid. By the KL-PWLS noise reduction, the colon lumen can be successfully constructed and the colonic polyp can be detected in an ultra low-dose level below 50 mAs. Polyp detection was also found easier by the KL-PWLS noise reduction compared to the results using the conventional noise filters, such as Hanning filter. These promising results indicate the feasibility of an ultra low-dose CTC pipeline for colon screening.