Search
What are you looking for?
Start main content

Press Releases

Press Releases

https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cu-medicine-study-shows-distinct-gut-microbial-profile-associated-with-long-covid
https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cu-medicine-study-shows-distinct-gut-microbial-profile-associated-with-long-covid

CU Medicine study shows distinct gut microbial profile associated with long COVID

Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, more commonly known as “long COVID”, is characterised by complications and/or persistent symptoms weeks and months after COVID-19 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 long COVID many months after their initial infection with COVID-19. The results have been recently published in the international journal Gut

 

Over 75% of COVID-19 patients develop long COVID

 

In this study, long COVID is defined as the presence of at least one persistent symptom for four weeks after clearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some 76% of patients had at least one symptom six months after recovery from COVID-19 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 COVID-19 in patients with or without long COVID at six months. 

 

Patients with long COVID have distinct gut microbiome dysbiosis 

 

Patients with long COVID had a less diverse gut microbiome, while the gut microbiome of patients who did not develop long COVID was similar to that of those who did not have COVID-19. Patients with long COVID had significantly fewer “favourable” bacteria and a greater abundance of “unfavourable” bacteria than people who did not have COVID-19. 

 

CU Medicine researchers looked at the composition of the gut microbiome to see if it was associated with different categories of long COVID symptoms, including respiratory, neuropsychiatric, gastrointestinal, skin (hair loss), musculoskeletal and fatigue. Eighty-one bacterial species were associated with different categories of long COVID and many species were associated with more than two categories of persistent symptoms. For example, persistent respiratory symptoms were strongly associated with opportunistic pathogenic microbes, while several species known to boost a person’s immunity were depleted in those with long COVID, including bifidobacterium adolescentis, bifidobacterium longum and bifidobacterium pseudocatelunatum. A patient’s gut microbiome configuration at admission may affect his/her susceptibility to long-term complications of COVID-19. 

 

Professor Siew Chien NG, Associate Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CU Medicine, remarked, “This is the first study to demonstrate persistent gut dysbiosis at six months after recovery from COVID-19 and the link between altered gut microbiota and common lingering symptoms. Our findings of bacteria taxa and their association with specific post-acute symptoms highlight that different microbial patterns may contribute to the development of different long COVID symptoms and how the microbiome could potentially serve as a proxy for the prediction of the development of specific post-acute COVID-19 symptoms.”

 

Professor Francis KL CHAN, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CU Medicine, concluded, “Our findings demonstrate that an individual’s gut microbiome profile may affect their susceptibility to long-term complications of COVID-19. 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-acute COVID-19 syndrome.”

 

This study was funded by a seed fund for Gut Microbiome Research provided by CU Medicine, and InnoHK, an initiative of the HKSAR Government’s Innovation and Technology Commission. 

 

CUHK Gut microbiota research team

The research team of CU Medicine found that gut microbiome composition may be linked to a person’s risk of developing “long COVID”, which is characterised by persistent symptoms such as poor memory, hair loss and fatigue after their initial infection with COVID-19. Over 75% of COVID-patients develop long COVID. 

 

Featured in the photo is the research team led by (1st from left) Professor Francis CHAN, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research, and (1st from right) Professor Siew NG, Associate Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research, at CU Medicine.

 

Schematic diagram showing the association between gut microbiome composition and long COVID

Schematic diagram showing the association between gut microbiome composition and long COVID.

 

More Press Releases

CU Medicine Finds New Evidence for Link between Gut Microbiome and COVID-19 Severity Microbiome Imbalance Might Influence “Long COVID” Risk

CU Medicine Finds New Evidence for Link between Gut Microbiome and COVID-19 Severity Microbiome Imbalance Might Influence “Long COVID” Risk

Research
CUHK researchers discover distinct gut microbial signatures for prediction, diagnosis and treatment of long COVID

CUHK researchers discover distinct gut microbial signatures for prediction, diagnosis and treatment of long COVID

Research
CU Medicine Study Suggests Toddlers are at High Risk of Being  “Silent Spreaders of SARS-CoV2 Infection”

CU Medicine Study Suggests Toddlers are at High Risk of Being “Silent Spreaders of SARS-CoV2 Infection”

Research
CU Medicine Study Shows Modulation of Gut Microbiota  Helps Enhance Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccine

CU Medicine Study Shows Modulation of Gut Microbiota Helps Enhance Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccine

Research
CU Medicine Study Shows Liver Injury is Common and Prognostic in COVID-19 Patients

CU Medicine Study Shows Liver Injury is Common and Prognostic in COVID-19 Patients

Research
CU Medicine Develops a Probiotic Formula to Target Imbalance in Gut Microbiota in COVID-19

CU Medicine Develops a Probiotic Formula to Target Imbalance in Gut Microbiota in COVID-19

Research
HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study shows that vaccinated individuals develop more robust and broadly reactive antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants than the unvaccinated after an Omicron infection

HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study shows that vaccinated individuals develop more robust and broadly reactive antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants than the unvaccinated after an Omicron infection

Research
CUHK Clinical Trial Centre collaborates with CUHK Medical Centre to conduct Hong Kong’s first clinical trial of novel oral treatment specifically developed for COVID-19

CUHK Clinical Trial Centre collaborates with CUHK Medical Centre to conduct Hong Kong’s first clinical trial of novel oral treatment specifically developed for COVID-19

Research
CU Medicine study shows a higher prevalence of dry eye disease  among post-COVID-19 patients

CU Medicine study shows a higher prevalence of dry eye disease among post-COVID-19 patients

Research
CU Medicine and Kowloon City District Office co-organise community COVID-19 vaccination programme targeting 2,000 residents, especially young children

CU Medicine and Kowloon City District Office co-organise community COVID-19 vaccination programme targeting 2,000 residents, especially young children

Health Campaign
A joint HKU-CUHK study finds that smoking  increases the risk of COVID-19

A joint HKU-CUHK study finds that smoking increases the risk of COVID-19

Research
CUHK-HKU collaborative research finds a new inflammatory activation pathway in  blood vessels after SARS-CoV-2 infection

CUHK-HKU collaborative research finds a new inflammatory activation pathway in blood vessels after SARS-CoV-2 infection

Research
Assessment of Omicron outbreak in Hong Kong after reimplementation of some of the toughest social distancing measures effective from 7 January

Assessment of Omicron outbreak in Hong Kong after reimplementation of some of the toughest social distancing measures effective from 7 January

Research
HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study finds that third dose of Comirnaty has better protection from COVID-19 variant Omicron

HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study finds that third dose of Comirnaty has better protection from COVID-19 variant Omicron

Research
HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study finds COVID-19 variant Omicron significantly reduces virus neutralisation ability of BioNTech vaccine

HKUMed-CU Medicine joint study finds COVID-19 variant Omicron significantly reduces virus neutralisation ability of BioNTech vaccine

Research
Joint CUHK-HKU study discovers efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines correlates with a probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium adolescentis

Joint CUHK-HKU study discovers efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines correlates with a probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium adolescentis

Research
CUHK study sheds light on novel mechanism and treatment of acute kidney injury in COVID-19 patients

CUHK study sheds light on novel mechanism and treatment of acute kidney injury in COVID-19 patients

Research
CUHK Study Suggests a Standardised Experimental Setup is the Key to Optimise  Performance of COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Tests

CUHK Study Suggests a Standardised Experimental Setup is the Key to Optimise Performance of COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Tests

Research
CUHK Study Demonstrates a 2.5-fold Increase in Myopia Incidence in Children  During COVID-19 Pandemic Due to Less Time Outdoors and More Time on Screens

CUHK Study Demonstrates a 2.5-fold Increase in Myopia Incidence in Children During COVID-19 Pandemic Due to Less Time Outdoors and More Time on Screens

Research
CU Medicine Survey Shows Only 25% of Unvaccinated People Intend to Get Inoculated in the Coming Six Months “Multiple Incentives” are Urgently Needed

CU Medicine Survey Shows Only 25% of Unvaccinated People Intend to Get Inoculated in the Coming Six Months “Multiple Incentives” are Urgently Needed

Research
CU Medicine Estimates 20,000 COVID-19 Hidden Infections in Hong Kong  All Vaccinated Persons in HK Developed Neutralising Antibody After Two Doses  Urgent Call for the Largely Unprotected Population to Get Vaccinated

CU Medicine Estimates 20,000 COVID-19 Hidden Infections in Hong Kong All Vaccinated Persons in HK Developed Neutralising Antibody After Two Doses Urgent Call for the Largely Unprotected Population to Get Vaccinated

Research
A Global Study Led by CU Medicine and HKUMed Discovers  a Hepatitis C Virus Drug as Potent Treatment for COVID-19

A Global Study Led by CU Medicine and HKUMed Discovers a Hepatitis C Virus Drug as Potent Treatment for COVID-19

Research
CU Medicine Study Shows Recovered Mothers Transfer COVID-19 Antibodies to Newborn Babies

CU Medicine Study Shows Recovered Mothers Transfer COVID-19 Antibodies to Newborn Babies

Research
CU Medicine and International Surgeons Suggest Patients with Positive COVID-19 Results Should Delay Surgery for Seven Weeks to Reduce Death Risk

CU Medicine and International Surgeons Suggest Patients with Positive COVID-19 Results Should Delay Surgery for Seven Weeks to Reduce Death Risk

International collaboration
CU Medicine Survey Shows Government Recommendation as the Strongest Driver for COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance

CU Medicine Survey Shows Government Recommendation as the Strongest Driver for COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance

Research
CUHK Introduces Nasal Strip Sampling for COVID-19 Test As a Superior Tool for Surveillance in a Wide Age-Range Population

CUHK Introduces Nasal Strip Sampling for COVID-19 Test As a Superior Tool for Surveillance in a Wide Age-Range Population

Research
40% of Hong Kong People Show Gut Dysbiosis Comparable to that of COVID-19 Patients CUHK Microbiome Immunity Formula Hastens Recovery of COVID-19 Patients and Offers Hope to Boost Immunity

40% of Hong Kong People Show Gut Dysbiosis Comparable to that of COVID-19 Patients CUHK Microbiome Immunity Formula Hastens Recovery of COVID-19 Patients and Offers Hope to Boost Immunity

Research
CUHK Study Shows Exposure Settings Impact COVID-19 Transmission With Entertainment Setting Showing Propensity for Widespread Dispersion

CUHK Study Shows Exposure Settings Impact COVID-19 Transmission With Entertainment Setting Showing Propensity for Widespread Dispersion

Research
CU Medicine Found SARS-CoV2 in Infants' Stool A Coronavirus Testing Centre Is Established for Paediatric Population to Identify Silent Carriers

CU Medicine Found SARS-CoV2 in Infants' Stool A Coronavirus Testing Centre Is Established for Paediatric Population to Identify Silent Carriers

Research
Most Deaths from COVID-19 in Hong Kong are of 60 Years Old or Above CUHK Initiated International Effort in Devising Strategies to Protect Older People with Dementia amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Most Deaths from COVID-19 in Hong Kong are of 60 Years Old or Above CUHK Initiated International Effort in Devising Strategies to Protect Older People with Dementia amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Research
CUHK Researchers Uncover Diabetes as a Potential Risk Factor for COVID-19,  and Possible Mechanisms

CUHK Researchers Uncover Diabetes as a Potential Risk Factor for COVID-19, and Possible Mechanisms

Research
CU Medicine Survey Shows Global Urological Services have been Significantly Deferred due to COVID-19 Pandemic

CU Medicine Survey Shows Global Urological Services have been Significantly Deferred due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Research
CU Medicine Recruits 3,000 Persons to Investigate Hidden Infection and Break the Obstacles in Containing COVID-19 in Hong Kong

CU Medicine Recruits 3,000 Persons to Investigate Hidden Infection and Break the Obstacles in Containing COVID-19 in Hong Kong

Research
CU Medicine Offers Free Stool Screening Test for COVID-19 in Children arriving at Airport

CU Medicine Offers Free Stool Screening Test for COVID-19 in Children arriving at Airport

Clinical service
CUHK Finds that the Coronavirus Can Persist in Stool after Its Clearance in Respiratory Tract Will Conduct Stool Test for People in Quarantine Camps for Early Identification

CUHK Finds that the Coronavirus Can Persist in Stool after Its Clearance in Respiratory Tract Will Conduct Stool Test for People in Quarantine Camps for Early Identification

Research
CU Medicine Announces the Community Response Study Results During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Hong Kong

CU Medicine Announces the Community Response Study Results During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Hong Kong

Research
The Helmsley Charitable Trust Funds Asian Research into Babies’ Gut Microbiota and Crohn’s Disease

The Helmsley Charitable Trust Funds Asian Research into Babies’ Gut Microbiota and Crohn’s Disease

Research
CUHK Discovers Fatty Liver Causing Severe Liver Fibrosis or Cirrhosis in 1 Out of 5 Diabetic Patients

CUHK Discovers Fatty Liver Causing Severe Liver Fibrosis or Cirrhosis in 1 Out of 5 Diabetic Patients

Research

Our Expert List

Many experts under the Faculty of Medicine are available for media interview.
Please click here for the expert list or contact us.