Covid-19 could make people more prone to other infections by wreaking havoc with gut bacteria

A complex network of gut microbiota ecosystems works hard to prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing and weakening your body. But when the gut microbiota is altered, the loss of this protective barrier can give way to dangerous pathogens. In a recent study published in the journal Nature Communicationresearchers have found that even a mild Covid infection can reduce the diversity of the gut microbiota and make people more vulnerable to other infections.

“Our results suggest that coronavirus infection directly interferes with the healthy balance of microbes in the gut, further endangering patients in the process,” said study co-lead author Ken Cadwell. microbiologist. “Now that we’ve uncovered the source of this bacterial imbalance, doctors can better identify which coronavirus patients are most at risk for secondary blood infection.”

While the overuse of antibiotics over the past few decades has led to antibiotic resistance, in the past two years studies have further revealed that disruptions or damage to an individual’s existing network of gut bacteria are linked to more serious Covid infections.

To further investigate whether the disruption occurred before or after Covid infection, researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine recruited 96 people hospitalized with Covid in 2020. All patients were based in New York or New Haven . They observed that each of them had a low diversity of gut microbiomes. While colonies of several multi-antibiotic resistant microbes have increased – thanks to the rampant overuse of antibiotics in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drug-resistant microbes that originated in the intestines were able to enter the bloodstream in 20% of patients.

“Our data suggest that the dynamics in patients with COVID-19 may be similar to those observed in cancer patients: organisms responsible for infections from the bloodstream may move from the intestine to the blood, potentially due to loss of gut barrier integrity, through downstream tissue damage from antiviral immunity instead of chemotherapy,” the researchers concluded in their study.

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