Worldwide prevalence of fungal coinfections among COVID-19 patients: a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis

Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2022 Feb;13(1):15-23. doi: 10.24171/j.phrp.2021.0293. Epub 2022 Feb 8.


Microbial coinfections can increase the morbidity and mortality rates of viral respiratory diseases. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the pooled prevalence of fungal coinfections in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Web of Science, Medline, Scopus, and Embase were searched without language restrictions to identify the related research on COVID-19 patients with fungal coinfections from December 1, 2019, to December 30, 2020. A random-effects model was used for analysis. The sample size included 2,246 patients from 8 studies. The pooled prevalence of fungal coinfections was 12.60%. The frequency of fungal subtype coinfections was 3.71% for Aspergillus, 2.39% for Candida, and 0.39% for other. The World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe and Regional Office for Southeast Asia had the highest (23.28%) and lowest (4.53%) estimated prevalence of fungal coinfection, respectively. Our findings showed a high prevalence of fungal coinfections in COVID-19 cases, which is a likely contributor to mortality in COVID-19 patients. Early identification of fungal pathogens in the laboratory for COVID-19 patients can lead to timely treatment and prevention of further damage by this hidden infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coinfection; Coronavirus; Fungi; Meta-analysis.