Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) is an infectious virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmitted mainly through droplets and aerosol affecting the respiratory tract and lungs. Little is known regarding why some individuals are more susceptible than others and develop severe symptoms. In this study, we analyzed the nasopharyngeal microbiota profile of aged patients with COVID-19 (asymptomatic vs. symptomatic) vs. healthy individuals. We examined the nasopharynx swab of 84 aged-matched patients, out of which 27 were negative asymptomatic (NegA), 30 were positive asymptomatic (PA), and 27 patients were positive symptomatic (PSY). Our analysis revealed the presence of abundant Cyanobacterial taxa at phylum level in PA (p
-value = 0.0016) and PSY (p
-value = 0.00038) patients along with an upward trend in the population of Litoricola, Amylibacter, Balneola, and Aeromonas at the genus level. Furthermore, to know the relationship between the nasal microbiota composition and severity of COVID-19, we compared PA and PSY groups. Our data show that the nasal microbiota of PSY patients was significantly enriched with the signatures of two bacterial taxa: Cutibacterium (p
-value = 0.045) and Lentimonas (p
-value = 0.007)
. Furthermore, we also found a significantly lower abundance of five bacterial taxa, namely: Prevotellaceae (p
-value = 7 × 10−6
), Luminiphilus (p
-value = 0.027), Flectobacillus (p
-value = 0.027), Comamonas (p
-value = 0.048), and Jannaschia (p
-value = 0.012) in PSY patients. The dysbiosis of the nasal microbiota in COVID-19 positive patients might have a role in contributing to the severity of COVID-19. The findings of our study show that there is a strong correlation between the composition of the nasal microbiota and COVID-19 severity. Further studies are needed to validate our finding in large-scale samples and to correlate immune response (cytokine Strome) and nasal microbiota to identify underlying mechanisms and develop therapeutic strategies against COVID-19.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.