Patients with COVID-19 have been reported to experience gastrointestinal symptoms as well as respiratory symptoms, but the effects of COVID-19 on the gut microbiota are poorly understood. We explored gut microbiome profiles associated with the respiratory infection of SARS-CoV-2 during the recovery phase in patients with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19. A longitudinal analysis was performed using the same patients to determine whether the gut microbiota changed after recovery from COVID-19. We applied 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to analyze two paired fecal samples from 12 patients with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19. Fecal samples were selected at two time points: during SARS-CoV-2 infection (infected state) and after negative conversion of the viral RNA (recovered state). We also compared the microbiome data with those from 36 healthy controls. Microbial evenness of the recovered state was significantly increased compared with the infected state. SARS-CoV-2 infection induced the depletion of Bacteroidetes, while an abundance was observed with a tendency to rapidly reverse in the recovered state. The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in the infected state was markedly higher than that in the recovered state. Gut dysbiosis was observed after infection even in patients with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19, while the composition of the gut microbiota was recovered after negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Modifying intestinal microbes in response to COVID-19 might be a useful therapeutic alternative.
- FB ratio
- Gut microbiota