Microbiome Imbalance Might Influence “Post Novel Virus Conditions” Risk

“Post Novel Virus Conditions” are signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection including novel virus which continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

Post Novel Virus Conditions is characterised by complications and/or persistent symptoms weeks and months after novel virus infection. A new study conducted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) showed that the gut microbiome composition may be linked to a person’s risk of developing Post Novel Virus Conditions many months after their initial infection with novel virus. The results have been recently published in the international journal Gut

Internationally, Post Novel Virus Conditions is defined as the presence of at least one persistent symptom for four weeks after clearance of the novel virus. Some 76% of patients had at least one symptom six months after recovery from novel infection. Among them, fatigue (31%), poor memory (28%), hair loss (21%), anxiety (21%) and difficulty in sleeping (21%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. There were no significant differences in age, gender, co-morbidities, use of antibiotics or anti-viral drugs and severity of novel virus in patients with or without Post Novel Virus Conditions at six months.  

Symptoms that persist after recovery from novel virus

Patients with Post Novel Virus Conditions had a less diverse gut microbiome, while the gut microbiome of patients who did not develop Post Novel Virus Conditions was similar to that of those who did not have novel virus. Patients with Post Novel Virus Conditions had significantly fewer “favourable” bacteria and a greater abundance of “unfavourable” bacteria than people who did not have novel virus. 

CU Medicine researchers looked at the composition of the gut microbiome to see if it was associated with different categories of Post Novel Virus Conditions symptoms, including respiratory, neuropsychiatric, gastrointestinal, skin (hair loss), musculoskeletal and fatigue.

These findings demonstrate that an individual’s gut microbiome profile may affect their susceptibility to long-term complications of Post Novel Virus Conditions. Considering the millions of people infected during the ongoing pandemic, the findings are impetus for consideration of microbiota modulation to facilitate timely recovery and reduce the burden of Post Novel Virus Conditions.


More﹕CU Medicine study shows distinct gut microbial profile associated with Post Novel Virus Conditions