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Microbiome ; 9(1): 132, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262519


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Viruses exist in complex microbial environments, and recent studies have revealed both synergistic and antagonistic effects of specific bacterial taxa on viral prevalence and infectivity. We set out to test whether specific bacterial communities predict SARS-CoV-2 occurrence in a hospital setting. METHODS: We collected 972 samples from hospitalized patients with COVID-19, their health care providers, and hospital surfaces before, during, and after admission. We screened for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-qPCR, characterized microbial communities using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and used these bacterial profiles to classify SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection with a random forest model. RESULTS: Sixteen percent of surfaces from COVID-19 patient rooms had detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA, although infectivity was not assessed. The highest prevalence was in floor samples next to patient beds (39%) and directly outside their rooms (29%). Although bed rail samples more closely resembled the patient microbiome compared to floor samples, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected less often in bed rail samples (11%). SARS-CoV-2 positive samples had higher bacterial phylogenetic diversity in both human and surface samples and higher biomass in floor samples. 16S microbial community profiles enabled high classifier accuracy for SARS-CoV-2 status in not only nares, but also forehead, stool, and floor samples. Across these distinct microbial profiles, a single amplicon sequence variant from the genus Rothia strongly predicted SARS-CoV-2 presence across sample types, with greater prevalence in positive surface and human samples, even when compared to samples from patients in other intensive care units prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: These results contextualize the vast diversity of microbial niches where SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected and identify specific bacterial taxa that associate with the viral RNA prevalence both in the host and hospital environment. Video Abstract.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 6433, 2021 03 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142460


In response to the ongoing global pandemic, characterizing the molecular-level host interactions of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19 has been at the center of unprecedented scientific focus. However, when the virus enters the body it also interacts with the micro-organisms already inhabiting the host. Understanding the virus-host-microbiome interactions can yield additional insights into the biological processes perturbed by viral invasion. Alterations in the gut microbiome species and metabolites have been noted during respiratory viral infections, possibly impacting the lungs via gut-lung microbiome crosstalk. To better characterize microbial functions in the lower respiratory tract during COVID-19 infection, we carry out a functional analysis of previously published metatranscriptome sequencing data of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from eight COVID-19 cases, twenty-five community-acquired pneumonia patients, and twenty healthy controls. The functional profiles resulting from comparing the sequences against annotated microbial protein domains clearly separate the cohorts. By examining the associated metabolic pathways, distinguishing functional signatures in COVID-19 respiratory tract microbiomes are identified, including decreased potential for lipid metabolism and glycan biosynthesis and metabolism pathways, and increased potential for carbohydrate metabolism pathways. The results include overlap between previous studies on COVID-19 microbiomes, including decrease in the glycosaminoglycan degradation pathway and increase in carbohydrate metabolism. The results also suggest novel connections to consider, possibly specific to the lower respiratory tract microbiome, calling for further research on microbial functions and host-microbiome interactions during SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19/microbiology , Microbial Interactions , Microbiota , Respiratory System/microbiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/microbiology , Humans , Lung/microbiology