Various research groups have described gastrointestinal disorders in patients with COVID-19 (Trottein and Sokol, 2020). In particular, alterations in the gut microbiota were observed with a consequent enrichment of opportunistic pathogens and depletion of beneficial commensals (Zuo et al., 2020). This might have a negative impact in the resolution of SARS-Cov-2 infection since it is known that gut microbes are important in the activation of innate and adaptive immunity (Villapol, 2020). Hence, although other clinical evidence is needed, there is the possibility that normalization of intestinal dysbiosis is effective for the control of COVID-19.
A possible explanation for dysbiosis in COVID-19
A possible explanation for dysbiosis in COVID-19 is to be found in how SARS-CoV-2 can infect the host cell. SARS-CoV-2 can in fact enter the host cell through the binding of the viral spike protein to the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2). In humans, ACE2 is strongly expressed in lung tissue thus it explains why the lung appears to be the most vulnerable target organ during COVID-19. However, high levels of ACE2 are also found on the luminal surface of differentiated epithelial cells in the small intestine. According to the literature, it seems that the reduction of ACE2 availability alters the composition of the gut microbiota (Trottein and Sokol, 2020). In a pilot study of 15 patients with COVID-19, the author found persistent alterations in the fecal microbiome during the time of hospitalization, compared with controls. Fecal microbiota alterations were associated with fecal levels of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 severity (Zuo et al., 2020).Therefore, the impact of prebiotics and probiotics should be investigated in COVID-19, as some may help interacting with the intestinal microbiota and modulating the immune system.
In our research activities the gut microbiota has a central role
The gut microbiota has a central role in our research activities for the formulation of innovative products with a positive impact on the wellbeing of human and animals! All our products contain natural prebiotic ingredients that favour the growth of beneficial commensals.
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