Hospital antimicrobial stewardship: profiling the oral microbiome after exposure to COVID-19 and antibiotics

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Frontiers in microbiology






COVID-19; Candida albicans (C. albicans); Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus); broad-spectrum antibiotics; hospital antimicrobial stewardship; saliva microbiome; sepsis


INTRODUCTION: During the COVID-19 Delta variant surge, the CLAIRE cross-sectional study sampled saliva from 120 hospitalized patients, 116 of whom had a positive COVID-19 PCR test. Patients received antibiotics upon admission due to possible secondary bacterial infections, with patients at risk of sepsis receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics (BSA). METHODS: The saliva samples were analyzed with shotgun DNA metagenomics and respiratory RNA virome sequencing. Medical records for the period of hospitalization were obtained for all patients. Once hospitalization outcomes were known, patients were classified based on their COVID-19 disease severity and the antibiotics they received. RESULTS: Our study reveals that BSA regimens differentially impacted the human salivary microbiome and disease progression. 12 patients died and all of them received BSA. Significant associations were found between the composition of the COVID-19 saliva microbiome and BSA use, between SARS-CoV-2 genome coverage and severity of disease. We also found significant associations between the non-bacterial microbiome and severity of disease, with detected most frequently in critical patients. For patients who did not receive BSA before saliva sampling, our study suggests as a potential risk factor for sepsis. DISCUSSION: Our results indicate that the course of the infection may be explained by both monitoring antibiotic treatment and profiling a patient's salivary microbiome, establishing a compelling link between microbiome and the specific antibiotic type and timing of treatment. This approach can aid with emergency room triage and inpatient management but also requires a better understanding of and access to narrow-spectrum agents that target pathogenic bacteria.


Biostatistics and Bioinformatics