In a pilot study of 15 patients with COVID-19, we found persistent alterations in the fecal microbiome during the time of hospitalization, compared with controls. Fecal microbiota alterations were associated with fecal levels of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 severity.
Patients with COVID-19 had significant alterations in fecal microbiomes compared with controls, characterized by enrichment of opportunistic pathogens and depletion of beneficial commensals, at time of hospitalization and at all timepoints during hospitalization.
Depleted symbionts and gut dysbiosis persisted even after clearance of SARS-CoV-2 (determined from throat swabs) and resolution of respiratory symptoms. The baseline abundance of Coprobacillus, Clostridium ramosum, and Clostridium hathewayi correlated with COVID-19 severity; there was an inverse correlation between abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (an anti-inflammatory bacterium) and disease severity. Over the course of hospitalization, Bacteroides dorei, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, Bacteroides massiliensis, and Bacteroides ovatus, which downregulate expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in murine gut, correlated inversely with SARS-CoV-2 load in fecal samples from patients.
Ever wondered why some Covid recovered cases go on to develop symptoms long after clearing the virus (long covid) ? Find out more here https://t.co/QKmRR4gvdA #LongCovid @CUHKMedicine @FrancisKLChan @QinLIU_2020 @wingyanjoyce @QiSu_123 @Gut_BMJ #microbiota
— Siew Ng (@Siew_C_Ng) January 26, 2022
Photo: Faecalibacterium prausnitzii