Fewer deaths from COVID-19 infection thanks to an intestinal bacteria?

According to the newspaper Japan Times On January 14, to unravel the “mysterious factor” that helps some countries have low death rates from COVID-19, scientists from Nagoya University analyzed data on 30 types of intestinal bacteria. in 953 healthy people in 10 countries through a public database.

The team analyzed the relationship between gut microbiota composition and mortality from COVID-19.

Applying an advanced machine learning model in February 2021 – a time when a COVID-19 vaccine was not yet available, scientists discovered that collinsella bacteria may be related to COVID-19 mortality.

The scientists divided the data into five types of gut microbial ecosystems. They compared them with mortality rates from 10 countries and found that people with higher levels of the gut bacteria collinsella had a lower mortality rate from COVID-19.

The study said that in countries with low mortality from COVID-19 such as Korea, Japan and Finland, the rate of collinsella among intestinal bacteria is often high, accounting for 34-61%.

Meanwhile, in countries with high death rates from COVID-19 such as Belgium, the UK, Italy and the US, the rate of collinsella in intestinal bacteria is only about 4-18%.

“I’m not saying that just one type of gut bacteria can treat COVID-19. The purpose of this study is to find a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease and to find something to do with that factor. The mystery leads to low mortality,” noted Masaaki Hirayama, an associate professor at Nagoya University and leader of the research team.

Associate Professor Hirayama explained that collinsella bacteria convert bile acids in the digestive system into ursodeoxycholic acid, which has the ability to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching to receptors on cells and prevent “cytokine storms” (the type of overreaction of the immune system). immune system can be deadly).

“In fact, most Japanese and people from other Asian countries have high levels of collinsella and bifidobacteria,” said Hirayama.