COVID infection disrupts the gut microbiome

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By Dennis Thompson

Health Day Reporter

TUESDAY, November 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 is known to attack a person’s lungs and can have long-term effects on the brain.

Now, doctors have found another way COVID is damaging your health — through your gut.

According to a new study in the journal, COVID infection can reduce the number of types of bacteria in the gut and give dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria a chance to multiply nature communication.

“Our findings suggest that coronavirus infection directly disrupts the healthy balance of microbes in the gut, further putting patients at risk,” said study co-senior author Ken Cadwell, a microbiologist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in NYC.

An unhealthy gut makes a person vulnerable to life-threatening diarrhea caused by harmful bacteria such as C. difficile. It can also cause other health problems like bloating and heartburn.

The study is the first to show that COVID alone damages the gut microbiome, researchers said. Doctors had previously suspected that using antibiotics to treat COVID had damaged gut bacteria.

An analysis of nearly 100 men and women hospitalized with COVID in 2020 found that most patients had low gut microbiome diversity. The researchers found that the guts of an entire quarter were dominated by a single species of bacteria.

At the same time, populations of several potentially harmful microbes increased. Some antibiotic-resistant bacteria had entered the bloodstream of 20% of the patients.

“Now that we’ve uncovered the source of this bacterial imbalance, physicians can better identify those coronavirus patients who are most at risk of secondary bloodstream infection,” Cadwell said in an NYU press release.

The results were published on November 1st.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic has more on gut health.

SOURCE: NYU Grossman School of Medicine, press release, November 1, 2022

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