The study used the commercial AB21 probiotic formula composed of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum KABP033, L. plantarum KABP022, L. plantarum KABP023 and Pediococcus acidilactici KABP021 from AB-Biotics / Kaneka Group.
Data from the 30-day intervention indicated that the supplement led to reductions in the viral load in the nose and throat, fewer lung infiltrates, and shorter duration of digestive and non-digestive symptoms, compared to placebo.
The supplement was also associated with significant increases in specific IgM and IgG against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), according to findings published in Gut Microbes.
“Noteworthy, the observed stimulation of humoral immunity is unlikely to be dependent on a particular viral variant, an interesting trait given the emergence of new viral variants,” wrote scientists from Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea Gonzalez in Mexico City, the International Scientific Council for Probiotics in Mexico City, the Hospital Angeles Pedregal in Mexico City, AB-Biotics SA (Spain), and Kaneka Group
Commenting on the study’s findings, Pedro Gutiérrez-Castrellón, MD, lead author on the study, said: “The positive findings reported by this study are an important step forward in our continued efforts to support COVID-19 patients.
“Few trials to date have found effective approaches for reducing symptom duration and viral load in COVID-19 outpatients. Therefore, an oral probiotic that helps to reduce viral load, lung infiltrates and symptom duration – like the AB21 probiotic intervention trialed in this study – could help to support COVID-19 outpatients more cost-effectively, and in addition to standard recognized therapies.”
Dr Gutiérrez-Castrellón and his co-workers recruited 300 COVID-19 outpatients to participate in their single-center, quadruple-blinded, randomized trial. The people were randomly assigned to placebo or the AB21 formulation containing two billion colony forming units (CFUs) in a 3:1:1:1 ratio for L. plantarum KABP033 (CECT30292), L. plantarum KABP022 (CECT7484), L. plantarum KABP023 (CECT7485) and Pediococcus acidilactici KABP021 (CECT7483).
After 30 days of interventions, the data indicated that, for 293 people who completed the study, complete remission was observed in 53% of the AB21 group, compared to 28% in the placebo group.
The researchers did not detect any notable compositional changes in fecal microbiota, leading them to hypothesize that the probiotic may “primarily act on the gut-lung axis (GLA) via crosstalk with the host’s immune system”.
The researchers said that the findings need to be confirmed in additional studies, and the mechanism of action should also be elucidated.
“Importantly, the probiotic immune effects reported in the study cannot be extrapolated to other probiotic formulations, because of the specific strains used,” they added.
Source: Gut Microbes
14:1, 2018899, DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2021.2018899
“Probiotic improves symptomatic and viral clearance in Covid19 outpatients: a randomized, quadruple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: P. Gutiérrez-Castrellón et al.