Coronavirus risk dependent on throat microbiome

By: PRLog

Throat microbiome profiles indicate a person's susceptibility to, and severity of, COVID-19 infection

AMSTERDAM - April 29, 2020 - PRLog -- inBiome, a Dutch molecular microbiology company, today revealed findings from a study showing a direct link between the bacteria in a person's throat, known as the throat microbiome, and how they react to the Coronavirus.

  • Throat bacteria could be key to defence against coronavirus
  • Some people twice as likely to catch the virus
  • Possible test to see who is most at risk
One of the most noticeable characteristics of COVID-19 is the high variability in how it affects people, with the risk for severe illness increasing with age.

Researchers from inBiome, with a number of leading Dutch medical organisations, began to investigate whether there was a potential role of the throat microbiome in COVID-19. Indeed, it is well known that the human microbiome is linked to the immune system and there is already evidence that an individual's throat microbiome plays a role in susceptibility to viral diseases.

inBiome is an established clinical diagnostics company and has launched three medical tests currently in use in hospitals.

Samples were collected from 135 patients using throat swabs; the same as used for coronavirus tests. The team then used IS-pro, inBiome's proprietary rapid microbiota analysis platform, to profile the microbiomes of both the COVID-19 positive and negative patients.

Remarkably, the platform found that there were significantly lower levels of COVID-19 infection among patients with a specific microbiome profile that contained a key cluster of bacteria, while those without this bacterial cluster were twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19. Strikingly, this bacterial cluster is common in the young but rare in older patients. This may explain the enhanced susceptibility of the elderly to COVID-19.

This research is important as it may well enable scientists to identify which microbiome profiles make people less susceptible to the virus and what specific bacteria are responsible for this heightened defence.

"This is the first indication of why there is a link between age and severity of COVID-19." says Dr Dries Budding, leader of the research group and CEO at inBiome. "More research is needed but this could provide a critical tool to understand people's risk of catching coronavirus before they even contract the disease, and maybe even a tool to prevent catching it at all."

Wider validation of these results is needed, but these findings could potentially open the door to developing tests, to predict a person's risk of catching the virus, or even a bacterial probiotic treatment that could protect people from the coronavirus.

The findings are part of a collaborative study with Admiraal de Ruijter hospital (Goes), Microvida (Breda) and the Amsterdam University Medical Center. Full pre-print scientific paper.

inBiome - Matt Clancy

Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

inBiome Logo Coronavirus General Microbiome Analysis Covid 19 Microbiome Protective Bacteria on Screen Covid 19 Microbiome Protective Bacteria Clustering

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