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Human Gut Bacteria can inhibit production of Covid-19

HUMAN GUT BACTERIA CAN INHIBIT PRODUCTION OF COVID-19A study released this week concluded that researchers at Yonsei University in South Korea have found that some bacteria found naturally in the human gut produce compounds that inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19.

The research was presented at the World Microbe Forum, an online meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the European Federation of Microbiological Societies (FEMS) and several other societies, taking place between Monday and Thursday this week.

Previous clinical findings have shown that some patients with the Covid-19 disease, in its moderate to severe form, have gastrointestinal symptoms, while others have signs of infection only in the lungs.

“We asked ourselves whether the bacteria residing in the gut could protect from the virus invasion,” said Mohammed Ali, a doctoral student at Yonsei University in Seoul, quoted in an ASM statement.

To investigate this hypothesis, the researchers examined the dominant bacteria in the human gut for their activity against SARS-CoV-2.

The investigation revealed that bifidobacteria, which had previously shown the ability to suppress the helicobacterium pylori, responsible for several gastrointestinal infections, and are active against irritable bowel syndrome, had this activity, Ali said.

The researchers also used artificial intelligence to look for potential disease-fighting compounds in databases of molecules produced by microbes and found that some might be useful against SARS-CoV-2.

“To test our model, we took advantage of data from previous coronaviruses, in which several compounds were tested against coronaviruses. This approach appears to be significant, as these targets share characteristics with SARS-CoV-2,” explained Ali.

The researcher also highlighted the ecological nature of his approach to this research, noting that many existing antibiotics and cancer therapies are compounds that bacteria use to compete with each other in the gastrointestinal tract and that have been previously purified from microbial secretions.

“Finding microbes that secrete molecules that can inhibit coronaviruses will be a promising method to develop natural or manufactured probiotics to expand our therapeutic prevention techniques, to provide a more sustainable way to fight viral infection,” concluded Mohammed Ali.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/