Microbiota Modulation as Potential Therapeutics in COVID-19

Interplay Between SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Gut Microbiota

The human gastrointestinal tract harbors trillions of microorganisms that form an ecologic community known as gut microbiota, of which its alteration, termed “dysbiosis,” has been associated with various human diseases. Microbial diversity in fecal samples of patients with COVID-19 was found to be decreased and accompanied by enrichment of opportunistic pathogens including Clostridium hathewayi and Ruminococcus species.

Data from 2 studies that used metagenomic sequencing showed that several beneficial commensals such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Eubacterium rectale were depleted in fecal samples of COVID-19 cases.

F prausnitzii, a major producer of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs; crucial for maintaining intestinal homeostasis) in the gut with anti-inflammatory potential due to induction of interleukin-10 production,7 was found to be low in abundance in feces of COVID-19 patients and had an inverse correlation with disease severity. [Harry Cheuk-Hay Lau]

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