Since the arrival of the coronavirus, scientists have been looking for ways to contain the virus. Probiotics could be a preventive strategy according to Eric Giannoni and his colleagues, where they detail their arguments in a scientific article.

We are living in a special period, marked by the arrival of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or SARS-Cov-2. Many strategies have been put in place to limit its spread, such as containment, wearing a mask, social distancing, hygiene, screening… Nevertheless, it is progressing throughout the world, and health care structures are under great strain.

COVID-19 is a contagious virus that causes symptoms similar to those of influenza or pneumonia. There are life-threatening complications, such as respiratory distress syndrome as an example. Although researchers have finally found a vaccine, the vaccination will take place in several stages, and not everyone will have access to it at the same time. Research on drugs is also underway. However, none have been marketed. Preventive strategies should be considered.

Are coronavirus and intestines linked?

It is now known that the virus is transmitted via respiratory droplets. The intestines are also implicated in its pathogenesis. Indeed, RNA of the virus has been detected in the digestive tract and feces of infected persons, as well as in the sewage system. The virus would therefore be able to colonize intestinal cells, thus serving as a reservoir. This would explain why many patients with COVID-19 suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms.

Probiotics as a preventive strategy for COVID-19?

Probiotics, these microorganisms with health benefits, have demonstrated their ability to prevent viral and bacterial infections. They also help reduce the symptoms. Several scientific proofs support these results, whether in vitro, in vivo, clinical studies or meta-analyses.

Eric Giannoni and his colleagues detail the content of the publications in their article.

For example, patients with gastroenteritis ingesting probiotics are less likely to suffer from diarrhea and rotavirus excretion is improved, indicating interference with the entry of the virus into cells and/or inhibition of viral replication in the gut.

Concerning respiratory infections, a dysbiosis of the bacterial communities is observed in the respiratory tract and intestines, highlighting an intestine-lung axis. It is therefore possible that orally taken probiotic strains may influence this gut-lung axis, as some of them may migrate from the intestine to other sites (breast, brain, vagina…).

In addition, research suggests that intestinal dysbiosis with COVID-19 causes inflammation.

Numerous clinical studies detailed in the article, indicate the effectiveness of probiotics in reducing the number, duration and symptoms of respiratory infections (influenza, rhinovirus …), particularly through their positive effects on immunity and inflammation. Numerous clinical trials detailed in the article, indicate the effectiveness of probiotics in reducing the number, duration and symptoms of respiratory infections (influenza, rhinovirus …), particularly through their positive effects on immunity and inflammation. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are the most effective genus. Many bacterial species were tested on infections such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis, Bifidobacterium longum

 

It would be reasonable to think that probiotics represent a preventive strategy to be considered against coronavirus, thanks to their antiviral and immune activities.

LC

Reference

BAUD D, DIMOPOULOU AGRI V, GIBSON GR, REID G, GIANNONI E. Using probiotics to flatten the curve of coronavirus disease COVID-2019 pandemic. Front Public Health. 2020