SARS-CoV-2 does not have a strong effect on the nasopharyngeal microbial composition

Tzipi Braun, Shiraz Halevi, Rotem Hadar, Gilate Efroni, Efrat Glick Saar, Natahan Keller, Amnon Amir, Sharon Amit, Yael Haberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly spread around the world, impacting the lives of many individuals. Growing evidence suggests that the nasopharyngeal and respiratory tract microbiome are influenced by various health and disease conditions, including the presence and the severity of different viral disease. To evaluate the potential interactions between Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the nasopharyngeal microbiome. Microbial composition of nasopharyngeal swab samples submitted to the clinical microbiology lab for suspected SARS-CoV-2 infections was assessed using 16S amplicon sequencing. The study included a total of 55 nasopharyngeal samples from 33 subjects, with longitudinal sampling available for 12 out of the 33 subjects. 21 of the 33 subjects had at least one positive COVID-19 PCR results as determined by the clinical microbiology lab. Inter-personal variation was the strongest factor explaining > 75% of the microbial variation, irrespective of the SARS-CoV-2 status. No significant effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the nasopharyngeal microbial community was observed using multiple analysis methods. These results indicate that unlike some other viruses, for which an effect on the microbial composition was noted, SARS-CoV-2 does not have a strong effect on the nasopharynx microbial habitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8922
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


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