Plasma microbiome in COVID-19 subjects: an indicator of gut barrier defects and dysbiosis.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ram PrasadMaria B Grant


The gut is a well-established route of infection and target for viral damage by SARS-CoV-2. This is supported by the clinical observation that about half of COVID-19 patients exhibit gastrointestinal ( GI ) symptoms. We asked whether the analysis of plasma could provide insight into gut barrier dysfunction in patients with COVID-19 infection. Plasma samples of COVID-19 patients (n=30) and healthy control (n=16) were collected during hospitalization. Plasma microbiome was analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing, metatranscriptomic analysis, and gut permeability markers including FABP-2, PGN and LPS in both patient cohorts. Almost 65% (9 out 14) COVID-19 patients showed abnormal presence of gut microbes in their bloodstream. Plasma samples contained predominately Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria . The abundance of gram-negative bacteria ( Acinetobacter, Nitrospirillum, Cupriavidus, Pseudomonas, Aquabacterium, Burkholderia, Caballeronia, Parabhurkholderia, Bravibacterium, and Sphingomonas ) was higher than the gram-positive bacteria ( Staphylococcus and Lactobacillus ) in COVID-19 subjects. The levels of plasma gut permeability markers FABP2 (1282±199.6 vs 838.1±91.33; p=0.0757), PGN (34.64±3.178 vs 17.53±2.12; p<0.0001),...Continue Reading

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