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Abstract COVID-19 is a huge threat to global health. Due to the lack of definitive etiological therapeutics currently, effective disease monitoring is of high clinical value for better healthcare and management of the large number of COVID-19 patients. In this study, we recruited 37 COVID-19 patients, collected 176 blood samples upon diagnosis and during treatment, and analyzed cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in these samples. We report gross abnormalities in cfDNA of COVID-19 patients, including elevated GC content, altered molecule size and end motif patterns. More importantly, such cfDNA characteristics reflect patient-specific physiological conditions during treatment. Further analysis on tissue origin tracing of cfDNA reveals frequent tissue injuries in COVID-19 patients, which is supported by clinical diagnoses. Hence, we demonstrate the translational merit of cfDNA as valuable analyte for effective disease monitoring, as well as tissue injury assessment in COVID-19 patients.

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