A new study has found that a branded probiotic formulation may have significant positive effects in COVID-19 patients.
The clinical trial, published in Gut Microbes, used the AB21 probiotic formulation from Kaneka Group/AB-Biotics, which consists of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum strains KABP022, KABP023, and KABP033 and Pediococcus acidilactici strain KABP021. The study gave 293 COVID-19 outpatients with mild symptoms either a placebo or AB21 once daily for 30 days.
The idea behind the study rests on the concept of the gut-lung axis, according to a press release from Kaneka Group, which involves a cross-talk between intestinal and pulmonary tissues via microbiome and immune cells. The hypothesis being tested was that probiotics may therefore benefit COVID-19 patients by influencing this axis.
Following the intervention:
- Complete remission was achieved by 53.1% of patients in the intervention group, compared to 28.1% in the placebo group.
- Supplementation reduced nasopharyngeal viral load, lung infiltrates, and duration of both digestive and non-digestive symptoms as compared to the placebo group.
- No notable compositional changes were detected in fecal microbiota, but supplementation did significantly increase specific IgM and IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that the probiotic influenced the gut-lung axis primarily via the immune system, rather than by altering colonic microbiota composition.
“The positive findings reported by this study are an important step forward in our continued efforts to support COVID-19 patients,” commented Pedro Gutiérrez-Castrellón, M.D., in the press release. “Few trials to date have found effective approaches for reducing symptom duration and viral load in COVID-19 outpatients. Therefore an oral probiotic that helps to reduce viral load, lung infiltrates and symptom duration—like the AB21 probiotic intervention trialed in this study—could help to support COVID-19 outpatients more cost-effectively, and in addition to standard recognized therapies.”