The mortality risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients has been linked to the cytokine storm caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Understanding the inflammatory responses shared between COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that feature cytokine storms may therefore help in developing improved therapeutic strategies. Here, we use integrative analysis of single-cell transcriptomes to characterize the inflammatory signatures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with COVID-19, sepsis, and HIV infection. We identify ten hyperinflammatory cell subtypes in which monocytes are the main contributors to the transcriptional differences in these infections. Monocytes from COVID-19 patients share hyperinflammatory signatures with HIV infection and immunosuppressive signatures with sepsis. Finally, we construct a "three-stage" model of heterogeneity among COVID-19 patients, related to the hyperinflammatory and immunosuppressive signatures in monocytes. Our study thus reveals cellular and molecular insights about inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and provides therapeutic guidance to improve treatments for subsets of COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; immunosuppression; inflammation.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.