Authors: Tim Sandle (Bio Products Laboratory, Elstree, UK)
One of the factors that affects the severity of the COVID-19 disease in people infected with the betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is connected to the composition of the gut microbiome.
By severity we mean not only the degree to which those infected experience fevers and respiratory problems, common to most symptomatic patients; but also to the extent that other conditions are experienced: diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The reason for this variability is dependent upon the extent that the virus moves through the body and which organs become infected. Central to the occurrence and severity other symptoms is what happens when the virus reaches the gastrointestinal tract. With a sizeable fraction of patients, the degree of severity appears to correlate with the composition of the gut microbiota. Severity relates to the range and extent of symptoms, and the time required for recovery (notably the case of ‘long-COVID’, marked by fatigue, breathlessness and psychological distress, such as problems with concentration and memory) (1). Hence, there appears to be a connection between gut microbiota dysbiosis and COVID-19 symptom severity.
Gut microbiome and coronavirus interactions