Alterations in the human oral and gut microbiomes and lipidomics in COVID-19


To characterise the oral microbiome, gut microbiome and serum lipid profiles in patients with active COVID-19 and recovered patients; evaluate the potential of the microbiome as a non-invasive biomarker for COVID-19; and explore correlations between the microbiome and lipid profile.


We collected and sequenced 392 tongue-coating samples, 172 faecal samples and 155 serum samples from Central China and East China. We characterised microbiome and lipid molecules, constructed microbial classifiers in discovery cohort and verified their diagnostic potential in 74 confirmed patients (CPs) from East China and 37 suspected patients (SPs) with IgG positivity.


Oral and faecal microbial diversity was significantly decreased in CPs versus healthy controls (HCs). Compared with HCs, butyric acid-producing bacteria were decreased and lipopolysaccharide-producing bacteria were increased in CPs in oral cavity. The classifiers based on 8 optimal oral microbial markers (7 faecal microbial markers) achieved good diagnostic efficiency in different cohorts. Importantly, diagnostic efficacy reached 87.24% in the cross-regional cohort. Moreover, the classifiers successfully diagnosed SPs with IgG antibody positivity as CPs, and diagnostic efficacy reached 92.11% (98.01% of faecal microbiome). Compared with CPs, 47 lipid molecules, including sphingomyelin (SM)(d40:4), SM(d38:5) and monoglyceride(33:5), were depleted, and 122 lipid molecules, including phosphatidylcholine(36:4p), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE)(16:0p/20:5) and diglyceride(20:1/18:2), were enriched in confirmed patients recovery.


This study is the first to characterise the oral microbiome in COVID-19, and oral microbiomes and lipid alterations in recovered patients, to explore their correlations and to report the successful establishment and validation of a diagnostic model for COVID-19.

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Authors: Zhigang Ren, Haiyu Wang, Guangying Cui, Haifeng Lu, Ling Wang, Hong Luo, Xinhua Chen, Hongyan Ren, Ranran Sun, Wenli Liu, Xiaorui Liu, Chao Liu, Ang Li, Xuemei Wang, Benchen Rao, Chengyu Yuan, Hua Zhang, Jiarui Sun, Xiaolong Chen, Bingjie Li, Chuansong Hu, Zhongwen Wu, Zujiang Yu, Quancheng Kan, Lanjuan Li