Probiotic formula may help with COVID-19 recovery in outpatients, says recent study

Patients in the probiotic group reported significantly fewer days of fever, cough, headache, body aches, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, compared to placebo.

A recent study1, sponsored by AB-Biotics SA (Kaneka Group), and published in Gut Microbes, found that supplementation with the company’s AB21 probiotic formulation may be beneficial for symptomatic COVID-19-positive outpatients. In the single-center, quadruple-blinded, randomized trial in symptomatic adults with COVID19, subjects were allocated to receive either the probiotic formulation or placebo for 30 days. The primary endpoints included: 1) the proportion of patients in complete symptomatic and viral remission, 2) the proportion progressing to moderate or severe disease with hospitalization or death, and 3) days in ICU.

Of the 293 patients that completed the study, none were hospitalized or died. Complete remission was achieved by 78 of 147 subjects in the probiotic group, compared to 41 of 146 subjects in the placebo group, which was found to be a statistically significant difference after multiplicity correction. Patients in the probiotic group also reported significantly fewer days of fever, cough, headache, body aches, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additionally, probiotic treatment was associated with lower nasopharyngeal viral load on days 15 and 30 of the study, compared to placebo. Compared to placebo, the probiotic group has higher serum titers of SARS- CoV2-binding IgG and IgM on days 15 and 30 and lower serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and D-Dimer on day 15. The researchers therefore hypothesize that the probiotic acts primarily by interacting with the host’s immune system rather than changing colonic microbiota composition, since no significant compositional changes were detected.

“The positive findings reported by this study are an important step forward in our continued efforts to support COVID-19 patients,” comments Pedro Gutiérrez-Castrellón, MD, one of the study’s authors, in a 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.”

Reference

  1. Gutiérrez-Castrellón P et al. “Probiotic improves symptomatic and viral clearance in Covid19 outpatients: a randomized, quadruple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” Gut Microbes, vol. 14, no. 1 (2022)