Publication date: Jan 09, 2024
Members of the Anelloviridae family dominate the blood virome, emerging early in life. The anellome, representing the variety of anelloviruses within an individual, stabilizes by adulthood. Despite their supposedly commensal nature, elevated anellovirus concentrations under immunosuppressive treatment indicate an equilibrium controlled by immunity. Here, we investigated whether anelloviruses are sensitive to the immune activation that accompanies a secondary infection. As a model, we investigated 19 health care workers (HCWs) with initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, with blood sampling performed pre and post infection every 4 weeks in a 3-month-follow-up during the early 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. A concurrently followed control group (n = 27) remained SARS-CoV-2-negative. Serum anellovirus loads were measured using qPCR. A significant decrease in anellovirus load was found in the first weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas anellovirus concentrations remained stable in the uninfected control group. A restored anellovirus load was seen approximately 10 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection. For five subjects, an in-time anellome analysis via Illumina sequencing could be performed. In three of the five HCWs, the anellome visibly changed during SARS-CoV-2 infection and returned to baseline in two of these cases. In conclusion, anellovirus loads in blood can temporarily decrease upon an acute secondary infection.
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