A team of researchers recently conducted a randomized clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy profiles of a novel probiotic formulation in symptomatic COVID-19. In many cases, the virus has been found to cause gastrointestinal infections manifested by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This indicates the establishment of a gut–lung communication axis in COVID-19 patients. There is emerging evidence indicating that the gut microbial community can potentially modulate lung immune responses by priming gut immune cells and migrating them to the lung epithelium.
In the current study, the scientists have evaluated the safety and efficacy of a novel probiotic formulation in COVID-19 patients. The formulation comprises three L. Plantarum stains (KABP022, KABP023, and KABP033) and one P. acidilacti strain (KABP021). The study was conducted on 150 symptomatic patients with RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The participants were asked to consume one active probiotic capsule once daily for 30 consecutive days.
A placebo-treated group of 150 COVID-19 patients was also included as experimental controls. Compared to only 28% of patients in the placebo group, about 53% of patients in the probiotic group showed complete remission of infection 30 days after treatment initiation. Throughout the study, no hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, or death occurred in both groups. The patients in the probiotic group reported faster recovery from symptoms, including fever, cough, headache, body ache, and breathlessness. Although consumption of acetaminophen was allowed during the study period, the participants in the probiotic group reported lower medicine intake than those in the placebo group.
A significantly lower nasopharyngeal viral load and significantly higher serum levels of IgG and IgM-specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were observed in probiotic-treated patients compared to that in placebo-treated patients. A significant reduction in C-reactive protein and D-dimer levels was also observed in probiotic-treated patients compared to that in placebo-treated patients. In patients with lung complications, a significant improvement in radiographic findings was observed at day 15 and day 30 post probiotic treatment initiation.
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