Healthy microbiome imbalances affect the probability of ‘long covid’
The intestinal microbiome will mediate the immune response to Covid-19, ramp up or temp inflammation during cytokine storms.
A recent study has shown that imbalances in the form and amount of intestinal bacteria may be correlated with the risk of ‘long COVID,’ whose symptoms last for weeks or months after the initial infection.
In the Gut journal, the research found that the variety of bacteria in the intestines, known as the microbiome, can affect the intensity of COVID-19 and the level of response of the immune system to the infection.
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have found that imbalances in composition of this microbiome can be associated with chronic, so-called COVID inflammatory symptoms.
What is Long Covid-19?
Long Covid is a term that describes the symptoms of Covid-19, which last for weeks or months after the initial disease. The health watchdog NICE defines long Covid-19 as more than 12 weeks long, although some people consider Covid-19 symptoms which last more than 8 weeks.
What is the Long Covid Symptoms?
Most people with symptoms recovered rapidly and after a couple of days may resume their normal lives. For others, however, the virus effects can last for weeks or months. This was named “long covid.”
For others, it may seem like a period of change and then regression again. These long-term consequences are not just with those who need to go to the hospital or who are seriously uncomfortable since they first caught the virus.
- Fear and depression
- Chest bread
- Muscle discomfort or pain
I can’t just think or concentrate (‘brain fog’)
Long COVID-19 – The Good Plays A Key Role
It was noted that COVID-19 is predominantly a respiratory disorder, but evidence indicates that the intestine may also play a role.
“In the light of reports of persistent symptoms such as fatigue, respiratory and articular pain in a subset of recovered patients with COVID-19, over 80.0 days after the onset of symptoms, we argue that the dysbiotic intestinal microbiome can contribute to the immune problems of post-COVID-19.”
According to the researchers, the reinforcement of beneficial good species depleted in COVID-19 may be a new way of mitigating severe disease which stresses the need to manage the intestinal microbiota of patients during and after COVID-19.
Good bacteria and their effect on the immune system response to COVID-19
The researchers found that the intestine is the largest immune organ in the body and that its resident microbes influence immune responses.
The team decided to find out if the bacteria might also affect an immune system reaction to infection with COVID-19.
They collected blood and stools and medical records from 100 laboratory-confirmed hospital patients with COVID-19 infection between February-May 2020, and 78 non-COVID-19 patients who participated in pre-pandemic microbiome analysis.
In absence of x-ray evidence of pneumonia and moderate, if pneumonia with fever and respiratory symptoms were observed, the severity of COVID-19 was graded as mild.
Make-up of healthy microbiome substantially differs
The disease was deemed serious if it was difficult for patients to normal respiration and essential for mechanical ventilation or organ failure that required intensive care.
41 of COVID patients provided several stool samples in the hospital to classify the gut microbiome, 27 of which provided serial stool samples for COVID-19 viruses for up to 30 days after clearance of SARS-CoV-2.
Analysis of all 274 stool samples showed that the composition of the intestinal microbiome substantially varied between patients with and without COVID-19, regardless of their treatment with medication, including antibiotics.
The researchers found that the number of patients with coronavirus is higher than those with no infection with Ruminococcus gnavus, Ruminococcus torque, and Bacteroides dorei.
Covid-19 Cytokines Infection
They had far less microbiome species, such as Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Eubacterium rectale, which may affect their immune system response.
Fewer F numbers. Prausnitzii and Bifidobacterium bifidum were, according to researchers, especially related to the severity of infection following taking into account antibiotic use and the patient age.
Samples collected until 30 days after infected patients cleared the virus from their bodies remain low in the number of such bacteria, they said.
The infection with coronavirus causes the immune system to respond to inflammatory cytokines.
Here’s What Cytokine Storm Leads
This response may in some cases be severe and lead to a “cytokine storm” that causes widespread tissue damage and multi-organ failure.
Blood samples analysis shows that the microbial imbalance in COVID patients was also correlated with increased inflammatory cytokines and tissue damage blood markers.
The researchers indicated that the gut microbiome may influence the immune system’s response to COVID-19 and potentially affect the severity and outcome of the disease.
The team has found that the research is observational, and as such, the inclusion of the gut microbiome does not have a cause.
The changes found in the study could also not extend to other COVID patients elsewhere.