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The gut microbiome: an under-recognised contributor to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Segal, Jonathan P., Mak, Joyce W. Y., Mullish, Benjamin H., Alexander, James L., Ng, Siew C. and Marchesi, Julian R. 2020. The gut microbiome: an under-recognised contributor to the COVID-19 pandemic? Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 13 , 175628482097491. 10.1177/1756284820974914

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The novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread rapidly across the globe, culminating in major global morbidity and mortality. As such, there has been a rapid escalation in scientific and clinical activity aimed at increasing our comprehension of this virus. This volume of work has led to early insights into risk factors associated with severity of disease, and mechanisms that underpin the virulence and dynamics involved in viral transmission. These insights ultimately may help guide potential therapeutics to reduce the human, economic and social impact of this pandemic. Importantly, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has emerged as an important organ influencing propensity to, and potentially severity of, COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, the gut microbiome has been linked to a variety of risk factors for COVID-19 infection, and manipulation of the gut microbiome is an attractive potential therapeutic target for a number of diseases. While data profiling the gut microbiome in COVID-19 infection to date are limited, they support the possibility of several routes of interaction between COVID-19, the gut microbiome, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) expression in the small bowel and colon and gut inflammation. This article will explore the evidence that implicates the gut microbiome as a contributing factor to the pathogenesis, severity and disease course of COVID-19, and speculate about the gut microbiome’s capability as a therapeutic avenue against COVID-19.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1756-283X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: 29 October 2020
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2020 13:30

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