According to new research, the bacteria lurking in the intestines of COVID-19 patients may play a role in their illness.
Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong say that although the coronavirus is mainly a respiratory disease, there is growing evidence that it involves the gastrointestinal tract.
The research team studied samples of 100 patients treated in two hospitals in Hong Kong to understand how the so-called microbiome in the digestive system affects the recovery of deadly bacteria.
They wrote in the journal Gut, published by the British Medical Journal: “Compared with non-COVID-19 patients, the composition of the gut microbiome of COVID-19 patients has changed significantly, regardless of whether the patient receives medication or not. .”
They said: “According to several patients surveyed in this study for up to 30 days after SARS-CoV-2 was cleared, the gut microbiota is likely to still undergo significant changes after recovery from COVID-19.”
The researchers said that patients with severe diseases showed high levels of plasma inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory markers, and given that the composition of the intestinal flora infected with SARS-CoV-2 has changed, the gastrointestinal tract during infection ” A lot of participation”.
Cytokines are molecules that enable your cells to talk to each other and play a vital role in healthy immune function. However, too much cytokine will cause the so-called “cytokine storm”.
They wrote: “These results indicate that the composition of the intestinal flora is related to the strength of the immune response to COVID-19 and subsequent tissue damage, and therefore may play a role in regulating the severity of the disease.”
Scientists also discovered that since a small percentage of patients show imbalance or imbalance of intestinal flora even 30 days after recovery, this may be a potential explanation for why certain symptoms persist in the so-called long COVID.
This article originally appeared on NYPost.com.