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4bases’ paper of the month – June 2021 – Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity in COVID patients

Our team’s reading recommendation for this month goes to “Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity and dysfunctional immune responses in patients with COVID-19”

by Yun Kit Yeoh et al. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong[i], a very interesting paper recently published by @BMJ publishing showing how the GI tract is involved in this disease.

The authors focused on the relationship between the composition of the gut microbiota and the disease severity and measured plasma concentration of cytokines, chemokines and blood markers of tissue damage.

The disease severity was evaluated from the clinical examination, radiography and monitoring of vital parameters and three levels were considered: mild moderate and severe.

The Gut microbiota composition was evaluated by stool DNA extraction and sequencing, whereas the SARS-CoV-2 virus load in the stools was also measured through RNA extraction and probe sequencing.

100 COVID patients and 78 non COVID patients were enrolled in the study with the following main findings:

  • Patients with COVID have an altered gut microbiota composition
  • The level of plasma concentrations of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and tissue damage markers are correlated with the composition of the gut microbiota
  • The gut microbiota dysbiosis persists after clearance of SARS- CoV-2

The authors suggest that “the gut microbiota could play a role in modulating host immune response and potentially influence disease severity and outcomes”.

On another hand, the influence (neither negative nor positive) of antibiotics could not be clearly understood.

This paper further demonstrates how much a better understanding of the gut microbiota is urgently needed as it does influence not only the health of the GI tract but also of other systems and apparatus and that it probably does on our global health.

We at 4bases are constantly supporting the scientific and medical communities in finding answers to these emerging questions through the development of novel reagents for NGS.

[i] Yeoh YK, Zuo T, Lui GC, Zhang F, Liu Q, Li AY, Chung AC, Cheung CP, Tso EY, Fung KS, Chan V, Ling L, Joynt G, Hui DS, Chow KM, Ng SSS, Li TC, Ng RW, Yip TC, Wong GL, Chan FK, Wong CK, Chan PK, Ng SC. Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity and dysfunctional immune responses in patients with COVID-19. Gut. 2021 Apr;70(4):698-706. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323020. Epub 2021 Jan 11. PMID: 33431578; PMCID: PMC7804842.


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