Study Suggests Gut Microbacteria Influences COVID-19 Severity And Immune Response

(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Jesse Stiller Contributor
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A new study into coronavirus suggests that microscopic gastrointestinal organisms may influence the severity and immune response of a person who comes down with the virus.

Researchers in Hong Kong found that imbalances in the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract may play a role in prolonged COVID symptoms and a patient’s immune response, according to Reuters.

“COVID patients lack certain good bacteria known to regulate our immune system.” Dr. Siew Ng of The Chinese University of Hong Kong told Reuters, adding that an abnormal assortment of gut bacteria, also known as “dysbiosis,” would persist in some patients, leading to long-lasting symptoms.

The study, which appeared in the British Medical Journal’s gut publication January 11, was conducted with blood and stool samples of 100 patients to investigate whether gut microbiomes had any role in the severity in the disease.

Researchers found that microbiome composition was significantly altered in those infected with COVID-19, and that the lack of certain bacteria in the gut could potentially influence immune response, the study found. (RELATED: Study Seems To Show Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Only 50% Effective, Prompting Clarification From China)

“Associations between gut microbiota composition…with COVID-19 suggest that the gut microbiome is involved in the magnitude of COVID-19 severity possibly via modulating host immune responses.” The study concluded.

Dr. Ng also told Reuters that her team was developing an oral form of probiotics as well as a “special capsule” to protect the organisms until they reach the gut.

Recent studies have shined new lights on how the disease works and why some people have different reactions, including a new study on how asymptomatic spread happens in households.