Zhejiang University: Dynamic Alterations in the Respiratory Tract Microbiota of COVID-19 Patients

The rapid outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threatens global health, and some of infected patients are in critical condition. Microorganisms residing in the gut and respiratory tract can alter susceptibility to and the outcomes of infectious diseases. However, the role of respiratory tract microbes and the relationship between respiratory tract and gut microbiomes in COVID-19 remain uncertain.

On July 6, 2022, Prof. SHEN Yifei from the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of medicine published an article entitled “Dynamic Alterations in the Respiratory Tract Microbiota of Patients with COVID-19 and its Association with Microbiota in the Gut” in the journal Advanced Science. This study reports that dynamic changes occur in the respiratory tract and gut microbial communities of patients with different COVID-19 disease severities.

Firstly, the study reveals the respiratory tract microbial composition of patients with COVID-19—particularly changes in the abundances of three genera, Streptococcus, Atopobium, and Actinomyces—could be used as a noninvasive biomarker for dysbiosis of the pulmonary microbiome or the invasion of potential pathogens in the lungs.

Dynamic Alterations in the Respiratory Tract Microbiota of COVID-19 Patients

Finally, the transcriptome sequencing data provided here conclusively show that defensin-related pathways in PBMCs increase in patients with COVID-19, and these changes are associated with changes in the microbial composition of the respiratory tract.

Overall, this study provides new and important data that will be valuable for halting the continuing and insidious COVID-19 health crisis.