Authors: Chen T, Song J, Liu H, Zheng H, Chen C

PMID: 34035353 PMCID: PMC8149409 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-90351-y


The objective of this study was to detect the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) coinfection in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this retrospective single-center study, we included 67 COVID-19 patients with onset time within 2 weeks in Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University from January 9 to February 29, 2020. Patients were divided into EBV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection group and SARS-CoV-2 infection alone group according to the serological results of EBV, and the characteristics differences between the two groups were compared. The median age was 37 years, with 35 (52.2%) females. Among these COVID-19 patients, thirty-seven (55.2%) patients were seropositive for EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgM antibody. EBV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection patients had a 3.09-fold risk of having a fever symptom than SARS-CoV-2 infection alone patients (95% CI 1.11-8.56; P = 0.03). C-reactive protein (CRP) (P = 0.02) and the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (P = 0.04) in EBV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection patients were higher than that in SARS-CoV-2 infection alone patients. EBV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection patients had a higher portion of corticosteroid use than the SARS-CoV-2 infection alone patients (P = 0.03). We find a high incidence of EBV coinfection in COVID-19 patients. EBV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection was associated with fever and increased inflammation. EBV reactivation may associated with the severity of COVID-19.

Keywords: Epstein-barr virus, EBV, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2

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