Worldwide prevalence of microbial agents' coinfection among COVID-19 patients: A comprehensive updated systematic review and meta-analysis

This article was originally published here

J Clin Lab Anal. 2021 Dec 1:e24151. doi: 10.1002/jcla.24151. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: To provide information about pathogens’ coinfection prevalence with SARS-CoV-2 could be a real help to save patients’ lives. This study aims to evaluate the pathogens’ coinfection prevalence among COVID-19 patients.

METHOD: In order to find all of the relevant articles, we used systematic search approach. Research-based databases including PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Scopus, without language restrictions, were searched to identify the relevant bacterial, fungal, and viral coinfections among COVID-19 cases from December 1, 2019, to August 23, 2021. In order to dig deeper, other scientific repositories such as Medrxiv were probed.

RESULTS: A total of 13,023 studies were found through systematic search. After thorough analysis, only 64 studies with 61,547 patients were included in the study. The most common causative agents of coinfection among COVID-19 patients were bacteria (pooled prevalence: 20.97%; 95% CI: 15.95-26.46; I2 : 99.9%) and less frequent were virus coinfections (pooled prevalence: 12.58%; 95% CI: 7.31-18.96; I2 : 98.7%). The pooled prevalence of fungal coinfections was also 12.60% (95% CI: 7.84-17.36; I2 : 98.3%). Meta-regression analysis showed that the age sample size and WHO geographic region did not influenced heterogeneity.

CONCLUSION: We identified a high prevalence of pathogenic microorganism coinfection among COVID-19 patients. Because of this rate of coinfection empirical use of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral treatment are advisable specifically at the early stage of COVID-19 infection. We also suggest running simultaneously diagnostic tests to identify other microbiological agents’ coinfection with SARS-CoV-2.

PMID:34851526 | DOI:10.1002/jcla.24151