1Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA. email@example.com.
2Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
3Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
4Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.
Detection of viruses by RNA and DNA sequencing has improved the understanding of the human virome. We sought to identify blood viral signatures through secondary use of RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data in a large study cohort. The ability to reveal undiagnosed infections with public health implications among study subjects with available sequencing data could enable epidemiologic surveys and may lead to diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, leveraging existing research data in a clinical context. We detected viral RNA in peripheral blood RNA-seq data from a COPD-enriched population of current and former smokers. Correlation between viral detection and both reported infections and relevant disease outcomes was evaluated. We identified Hepatitis C virus RNA in 228 subjects and HIV RNA in 30 subjects. Overall, we observed 31 viral species, including Epstein-Barr virus and Cytomegalovirus. We observed an enrichment of Hepatitis C and HIV infections among subjects reporting liver disease and HIV infections, respectively. Higher interferon expression scores were observed in the subjects with Hepatitis C and HIV infections. Through secondary use of RNA-seq from a cohort of current and former smokers, we detected peripheral blood viral signatures. We identified HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV), highlighting potential public health implications for the approach described this study. We observed correlations with reported infections, chronic infection outcomes and the host transcriptomic response, providing evidence to support the validity of the approach.