PLOS Pathogens (2021) 17(2): e1009243
Metabolomic/lipidomic profiling of COVID-19 and individual response to tocilizumab
The current pandemic emergence of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) poses a relevant threat to global health. SARS-CoV-2 infection is characterized by a wide range of clinical manifestations, ranging from absence of symptoms to severe forms that need intensive care treatment. Here, plasma-EDTA samples of 30 patients compared with age- and sex-matched controls were analyzed via untargeted nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics and lipidomics. With the same approach, the effect of tocilizumab administration was evaluated in a subset of patients. Despite the heterogeneity of the clinical symptoms, COVID-19 patients are characterized by common plasma metabolomic and lipidomic signatures (91.7% and 87.5% accuracy, respectively, when compared to controls). Tocilizumab treatment resulted in at least partial reversion of the metabolic alterations due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In conclusion, NMR-based metabolomic and lipidomic profiling provides novel insights into the pathophysiological mechanism of human response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and to monitor treatment outcomes.