A recent study published in the Gut Journal has formally linked the gut microbiome â the trillions of microbes that live in the gut â to the severity of Covid-19 and the immune systemâs ability to respond to the virus. Added to that, imbalances in the microbiome may be the reason for persistent inflammatory symptoms also known as âlong Covidâ. Researchers obtained blood and stool samples and medical records from 100 hospital in-patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 between February and May 2020 â and from 78 people without Covid-19 who were taking part in a microbiome study before the pandemic. This is what they found
- The composition of the gut microbiome in patients with Covid-19 is consistent with disease severity. This means that people who had a severe case of Covid-19 had a similar make up of microbes in their gut
- Patients with Covid-19 were depleted in gut bacteria known to support the immune system, such asÂ Faecalibacterium prausnitzii,Â Eubacterium rectaleÂ and several bifidobacterial species
- The microbial imbalance in patients with Covid-19 persists after clearance of the virus and could be responsible for instances of long Covid.