Covid and intestine, what is the relationship? “Various studies, recently conducted on large numbers of patients, have highlighted an increasingly clear involvement of the gastrointestinal system in Sars-Cov-2 disease, even suggesting that the intestine may represent a sort of long ‘hospitalization’ term of the coronavirus, as demonstrated by the presence of viral Rna in the feces of patients who had experienced respiratory symptoms from Covid-19 several months earlier “. The immunologist Mauro Minelli, head of the Foundation for personalized medicine for Southern Italy, explains this to Ruetir Salute, illustrating a new line of research on Covid-19.
“This is evidence – he continues – which confirms the existence of an ‘intestine-lung axis’ to be understood as a real two-way connection between the two districts, but above all between the microbial contents of the two environments in perennial dialogue. the intestine, even for a disease with a prevalent pulmonary involvement, plays a key role by acting as the hub of a complex network in which the regulatory role of the microbiota prevails, evidently not limited to the intestine but also extended to distant organs “.
On the other hand, the immunologist points out, “the role of the intestinal microbiota in influencing diseases of the respiratory tract has been well known for some time and for other pathologies. It is also known that respiratory virus infections, in turn, cause disturbances. qualitative and quantitative intestinal microbiota. New coronavirus infections are also included as numerous studies on patients with COVID-19 have shown alterations in the fecal microbiota after Sars-CoV-2 infection. These alterations demonstrate dysbiosis intestinal characterized by a high number of opportunistic pathogens and a decrease in beneficial diners “.
Furthermore, explains Minelli, “these studies have observed, on the one hand, a direct correlation between the increase in some microorganisms (such as Coprobacillus, Clostridium ramosum and Clostridium hatheway) and the severity of Covid-19 disease, and, on the other , an inverse correlation between the abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and the severity of the disease itself.Of notable importance is the fact that experiments in animal models have identified some species of bacterioids that deregulate the expression of Ace2 in the intestines of these animals. The presence of these species has also been detected in fecal samples from patients with Covid-19 and their abundance correlates inversely with the degree of Sars-CoV-2 infection “.
“All this documentary material, which currently still constitutes anecdotal narrative despite the fact that we have been talking about it for at least two years, certainly needs scientific confirmation that unequivocally demonstrates not only the complex correlation between the qualitative and quantitative composition of the microbiota and the first SARS infection. Cov-2, but also the greater or lesser criticality of Long Covid, while offering the most suitable tools to suggest additional therapeutic approaches – he concludes – useful for combating the infection, influencing the course and severity of the disease and evaluating the possibility of targeted preventive and diagnostic interventions “.