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Article Dans Une Revue PLoS ONE Année : 2021

High association of COVID-19 severity with poor gut health score in Lebanese patients

Imad Al Kassaa
Sarah El Omari
Nada Abbas
  • Fonction : Auteur
Djamel Drider
Issmat Kassem
Marwan Osman


Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected millions of lives globally. However, the disease has presented more extreme challenges for developing countries that are experiencing economic crises. Studies on COVID-19 symptoms and gut health are scarce and have not fully analyzed possible associations between gut health and disease pathophysiology. Therefore, this study aimed to demonstrate a potential association between gut health and COVID-19 severity in the Lebanese community, which has been experiencing a severe economic crisis. Methods This cross-sectional study investigated SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive Lebanese patients. Participants were interviewed and gut health, COVID-19 symptoms, and different metrics were analyzed using simple and multiple logistic regression models. Results Analysis of the data showed that 25% of participants were asymptomatic, while an equal proportion experienced severe symptoms, including dyspnea (22.7%), oxygen need (7.5%), and hospitalization (3.1%). The mean age of the participants was 38.3 ±0.8 years, and the majority were males (63.9%), married (68.2%), and currently employed (66.7%). A negative correlation was found between gut health score and COVID-19 symptoms (Kendall’s tau-b = -0.153, P = 0.004); indicating that low gut health was associated with more severe COVID-19 cases. Additionally, participants who reported unhealthy food intake were more likely to experience severe symptoms (Kendall’s tau-b = 0.118, P = 0.049). When all items were taken into consideration, multiple ordinal logistic regression models showed a significant association between COVID-19 symptoms and each of the following variables: working status, flu-like illness episodes, and gut health score. COVID-19 severe symptoms were more common among patients having poor gut health scores (OR:1.31, 95%CI:1.07–1.61; P = 0.008), experiencing more than one episode of flu-like illness per year (OR:2.85, 95%CI:1.58–5.15; P = 0.001), and owning a job (OR:2.00, 95%CI:1.1–3.65; P = 0.023). Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first study that showed the impact of gut health and exposure to respiratory viruses on COVID-19 severity in Lebanon. These findings can facilitate combating the pandemic in Lebanon.

Dates et versions

hal-03406935 , version 1 (28-10-2021)



Imad Al Kassaa, Sarah El Omari, Nada Abbas, Nicolas Papon, Djamel Drider, et al.. High association of COVID-19 severity with poor gut health score in Lebanese patients. PLoS ONE, 2021, 16 (10), pp.e0258913. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0258913⟩. ⟨hal-03406935⟩


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