Mycoplasma and viral co-infections

2021 update: This is another password protected post from May of 2020. We were actually forward thinking that maybe Covid-19 could be made worse by mycoplasma coinfections. A PubMed search on Mollicute and Coivd-19 reveals as much. Some day we should look at Cu(I)NA2 as an antibacterial for these cell wall lacking bacteria.

Corona Viruses, Kawasaki’s Disease, and Children

Tang (2004) performed a PCR survey of pediatric cases of Kawasaki syndrome in Taiwan.   RNA and DNA was extracted from  throat swabs, and nasopharyngeal swabs.  Nucleic acid sequences to identify the pathogens were amplified using PCR primers  for enterovirus, adenovirus, influenza B, rhinovirus, metapneumovirus, and coronavirus.  These authors found that children with Kawasaki’s syndrome were more likely to to have infections with common respiratory viruses [1].

Tables 3 and 5 are from ref [1]. The heart diagram is from an AHA site that has an excellent overview of Kawasaki’s syndrome and treatment.

COID-19 and Mollicutes

Mollicutes is the new term for bacteria, formerly called mycoplasmas, that lack cell walls.  Garth Nicolson, PhD and Gonzalo Ferreira de Mattos, MD, PhD and published a recent hypothesis paper proposing that COVID-19 deaths are due to coinfection with Mycoplasma pnuemoniae and related species of pathogenic bacteria [2].

Pneumonia is and inflammation of the aveoli of the lung that is generally caused by viral or bacterial infections.  Fungi and parasites may also cause pneumonia.

CDC page on Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a good resource.   Because these bacteria lack cell walls, therefore, β-lactam antibiotics, of which Penicillin is one, are of little use.  Macrolides are commonly prescribed to children and adults with Mycoplasma infections.  The CDC reports resistance as high as 90% in Asia with emerging cases of resistance in the United States and Europe.  The CDC makes diagnosing Mollicute infections sound difficult and time consuming.

As a look back to 2016, Mycoplasma penumoniae was found in close to 14%  of Kawasaki cases in the Children’s Hospital of Soochow University, China.  These authors did not look for viral pathogens that were on the scene back in 2016. [4]

The CDC’s list of Mycoplasma pneumoniae Treatments

These antibiotics came from the CDC’s website with additional information of Wikipedia websites.

  • Macrolides (e.g., azithromycin): Children and adults  Macrolides are generally considered the treatment of choice. However, clinicians should practice prudent use of macrolide drugs due to the emergence of macrolide-resistant strains of M. pneumoniae.   Macrolides inhibit the translation of mRNA into proteins in bacteria.
  • Fluoroquinolones: Adults  Fluoroquinolones inhibit DNA replication in bacteria.  Unfortunately they have neurological side effects in humans.
  • Tetracyclines (e.g., doxycycline): Older children and adults  Tetracyclines also inhibit the translation of mRNA into proteins in bacteria.

Clinicians should not prescribe fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines for young children under normal circumstances.

Concluding remarks

Mollicute and Covid-19 co-infections seem to be an emerging problem.  Cases of Kawasaki Disease linked to mollicute and corona virus family infections raises some interesting questions.  Could the right copper boost to the immune system prevent the use of antibiotics when bacterial co-infections are simply prolonging recovery?


  1. Raha S, Mallick R, Basak S, Duttaroy AK.(2020) Is copper beneficial for COVID-19 patients? Med Hypotheses. 2020 May 5;142:109814. [PMC free article]
  2. Chang LY, Lu CY, Shao PL, Lee PI, Lin MT, Fan TY, Cheng AL, Lee WL, Hu JJ, Yeh SJ, Chang CC, Chiang BL, Wu MH, Huang LM. (2014)Viral infections associated with Kawasaki disease. J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Mar;113(3):148-54. [PMC free article]
  3. Nicolson GL, Ferreira de Mattos G (2020) COVID-19 Coronavirus: Is Infection Along with Mycoplasma or other Bacteria Linked to Progression to a Lethal Outcome? International Journal of Clinical Medicine 11: [Cross Ref]
  4. Tang Y, Yan W, Sun L, Huang J, Qian W, Hou M, Lv H.(2016) Kawasaki disease associated with Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Ital J Pediatr. 42(1):83  [PMC free article]

Published by BL

I like to write educational websites

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