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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325537

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from faecal samples and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. Methods: : We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had faecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial faecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the faecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. Results: : Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in faecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Faecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harboured more stress-, inflammation- and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, Pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age;5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. Conclusions: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19.

2.
Front Immunol ; 12: 763292, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581338

ABSTRACT

The cytokine release syndrome has been proposed as the driver of inflammation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, studies on longitudinal cytokine profiles in patients across the whole severity spectrum of COVID-19 are lacking. In this prospective observational study on adult COVID-19 patients admitted to two Hong Kong public hospitals, cytokine profiling was performed on blood samples taken during early phase (within 7 days of symptom onset) and late phase (8 to 12 days of symptom onset). The primary objective was to evaluate the difference in early and late cytokine profiles among patient groups with different disease severity. The secondary objective was to assess the associations between cytokines and clinical endpoints in critically ill patients. A total of 40 adult patients (mild = 8, moderate = 15, severe/critical = 17) hospitalized with COVID-19 were included in this study. We found 22 cytokines which were correlated with disease severity, as proinflammatory Th1-related cytokines (interleukin (IL)-18, interferon-induced protein-10 (IP-10), monokine-induced by gamma interferon (MIG), and IL-10) and ARDS-associated cytokines (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and IL-8) were progressively elevated with increasing disease severity. Furthermore, 11 cytokines were consistently different in both early and late phases, including seven (growth-regulated oncogene-alpha (GRO-α), IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, and MIG) that increased and four (FGF-2, IL-5, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and MIP-1α) that decreased from mild to severe/critical patients. IL-8, followed by IP-10 and MDC were the best performing early biomarkers to predict disease severity. Among critically ill patients, MCP-1 predicted the duration of mechanical ventilation, highest norepinephrine dose administered, and length of intensive care stay.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
3.
Microbiome ; 9(1): 91, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183579

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from fecal samples, and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. METHODS: We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had fecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial fecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the fecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. RESULTS: Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in fecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Fecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harbored more stress-, inflammation-, and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells, and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age; 5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether, our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19. Video Abstract.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Child, Preschool , DNA , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Humans , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Virome
4.
J Infect Dis ; 222(10): 1612-1619, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-863294

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Self-collected specimens have been advocated to avoid infectious exposure to healthcare workers. Self-induced sputum in those with a productive cough and saliva in those without a productive cough have been proposed, but sensitivity remains uncertain. METHODS: We performed a prospective study in 2 regional hospitals in Hong Kong. RESULTS: We prospectively examined 563 serial samples collected during the virus shedding periods of 50 patients: 150 deep throat saliva (DTS), 309 pooled-nasopharyngeal (NP) and throat swabs, and 104 sputum. Deep throat saliva had the lowest overall reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-positive rate (68.7% vs 89.4% [sputum] and 80.9% [pooled NP and throat swabs]) and the lowest viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) concentration (mean log copy/mL 3.54 vs 5.03 [sputum] and 4.63 [pooled NP and throat swabs]). Analyses with respect to time from symptom onset and severity also revealed similar results. Virus yields of DTS correlated with that of sputum (Pearson correlation index 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.62-0.86). We estimated that the overall false-negative rate of DTS could be as high as 31.3% and increased 2.7 times among patients without sputum. CONCLUSIONS: Deep throat saliva produced the lowest viral RNA concentration and RT-PCR-positive rate compared with conventional respiratory specimens in all phases of illness. Self-collected sputum should be the choice for patients with sputum.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Nasopharynx/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Saliva/virology , Sputum/virology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Specimen Handling/methods , Young Adult
6.
Laryngoscope ; 130(11): 2680-2685, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-720339

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: This study investigated olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in the 2020 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, and their correlations with viral load evaluation. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cross-sectional cohort study. METHODS: One hundred forty-three symptomatic patients being screened for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were invited to participate. The clinical data of 83 confirmed COVID-19 subjects were collected, with 60 patients who were symptomatic but negative for COVID-19 recruited as controls. The prevalence and severity of and recovery time for olfactory and gustatory dysfunction, and cycle threshold (Ct) values from a SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction assay of nasopharyngeal and deep throat swabs were collected. Their correlations with Ct values were reported. RESULTS: Thirty-nine (47.0%) and 36 (43.4%) COVID-19 patients reported olfactory and gustatory dysfunction, respectively. The results of one-way analysis of variance did not show statistically significant relationships between the Ct values and severity of olfactory and gustatory dysfunction (P = .780 and P = .121, respectively). Among the COVID-19 patients who reported smell and taste loss, 28/39 (71.8%) and 30/36 (83.3%) experienced complete recovery, respectively. The mean recovery time was 10.3 ± 8.1 days for olfactory dysfunction and 9.5 ± 6.8 days for gustatory dysfunction. The recovery time was not correlated with the Ct values (Pearson correlation coefficient, smell: -0.008, P = .968; taste: -0.015, P = .940). CONCLUSIONS: There is a high prevalence of olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in COVID-19. However, the severity of and recovery from these symptoms have no correlations with the viral load of SARS-CoV-2. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 130:2680-2685, 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Olfaction Disorders/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Taste Disorders/epidemiology , Viral Load , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/complications , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Olfaction Disorders/virology , Prevalence , Prognosis , Prospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index , Taste Disorders/virology , Young Adult
7.
Gastroenterology ; 159(4): 1302-1310.e5, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-621434

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects intestinal cells, and might affect the intestinal microbiota. We investigated changes in the fecal fungal microbiomes (mycobiome) of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection during hospitalization and on recovery. METHODS: We performed deep shotgun metagenomic sequencing analysis of fecal samples from 30 patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, from February 5 through May 12, 2020. Fecal samples were collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until discharge. We compared fecal mycobiome compositions of patients with COVID-19 with those from 9 subjects with community-acquired pneumonia and 30 healthy individuals (controls). We assessed fecal mycobiome profiles throughout time of hospitalization until clearance of SARS-CoV-2 from nasopharyngeal samples. RESULTS: Patients with COVID-19 had significant alterations in their fecal mycobiomes compared with controls, characterized by enrichment of Candia albicans and a highly heterogeneous mycobiome configuration, at time of hospitalization. Although fecal mycobiomes of 22 patients with COVID-19 did not differ significantly from those of controls during times of hospitalization, 8 of 30 patients with COVID-19 had continued significant differences in fecal mycobiome composition, through the last sample collected. The diversity of the fecal mycobiome of the last sample collected from patients with COVID-19 was 2.5-fold higher than that of controls (P < .05). Samples collected at all timepoints from patients with COVID-19 had increased proportions of opportunistic fungal pathogens, Candida albicans, Candida auris, and Aspergillus flavus compared with controls. Two respiratory-associated fungal pathogens, A. flavus and Aspergillus niger, were detected in fecal samples from a subset of patients with COVID-19, even after clearance of SARS-CoV-2 from nasopharyngeal samples and resolution of respiratory symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: In a pilot study, we found heterogeneous configurations of the fecal mycobiome, with enrichment of fungal pathogens from the genera Candida and Aspergillus, during hospitalization of 30 patients with COVID-19 compared with controls. Unstable gut mycobiomes and prolonged dysbiosis persisted in a subset of patients with COVID-19 up to 12 days after nasopharyngeal clearance of SARS-CoV-2. Studies are needed to determine whether alterations in intestinal fungi contribute to or result from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the effects of these changes in disease progression.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/microbiology , Feces/microbiology , Fungi/isolation & purification , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Mycobiome , Pneumonia, Viral/microbiology , Adult , Aged , Aspergillus flavus/genetics , Aspergillus flavus/isolation & purification , Aspergillus niger/genetics , Aspergillus niger/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Candida/genetics , Candida/isolation & purification , Candida albicans/genetics , Candida albicans/isolation & purification , Case-Control Studies , Community-Acquired Infections/microbiology , DNA, Fungal/analysis , Female , Fungi/genetics , Humans , Male , Metagenomics , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Patient Discharge , Pneumonia/microbiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Young Adult
8.
Gastroenterology ; 159(3): 944-955.e8, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324569

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Although severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects gastrointestinal tissues, little is known about the roles of gut commensal microbes in susceptibility to and severity of infection. We investigated changes in fecal microbiomes of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection during hospitalization and associations with severity and fecal shedding of virus. METHODS: We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing analyses of fecal samples from 15 patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, from February 5 through March 17, 2020. Fecal samples were collected 2 or 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until discharge; disease was categorized as mild (no radiographic evidence of pneumonia), moderate (pneumonia was present), severe (respiratory rate ≥30/min, or oxygen saturation ≤93% when breathing ambient air), or critical (respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation, shock, or organ failure requiring intensive care). We compared microbiome data with those from 6 subjects with community-acquired pneumonia and 15 healthy individuals (controls). We assessed gut microbiome profiles in association with disease severity and changes in fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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. Strategies to alter the intestinal microbiota might reduce disease severity.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/microbiology , Dysbiosis/virology , Feces/microbiology , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/microbiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Female , Gastrointestinal Tract/microbiology , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2
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