Microbiome disturbance and resilience dynamics of the upper respiratory tract during influenza A virus infection

Nat Commun. 2020 May 21;11(1):2537. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16429-9.


Infection with influenza can be aggravated by bacterial co-infections, which often results in disease exacerbation. The effects of influenza infection on the upper respiratory tract (URT) microbiome are largely unknown. Here, we report a longitudinal study to assess the temporal dynamics of the URT microbiomes of uninfected and influenza virus-infected humans and ferrets. Uninfected human patients and ferret URT microbiomes have stable healthy ecostate communities both within and between individuals. In contrast, infected patients and ferrets exhibit large changes in bacterial community composition over time and between individuals. The unhealthy ecostates of infected individuals progress towards the healthy ecostate, coinciding with viral clearance and recovery. Pseudomonadales associate statistically with the disturbed microbiomes of infected individuals. The dynamic and resilient microbiome during influenza virus infection in multiple hosts provides a compelling rationale for the maintenance of the microbiome homeostasis as a potential therapeutic target to prevent IAV associated bacterial co-infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Biodiversity
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Dysbiosis / virology
  • Female
  • Ferrets
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza A virus / physiology*
  • Influenza, Human / microbiology*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology*
  • Nasopharynx / virology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / microbiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Young Adult