Coronavirus and Probiotics: Past, Present and Future


Coronavirus  disease  (COVID-19),  caused  by  a  new  strain  of coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) identified in 2019 and previously not identified in humans, was declared a pandemic in March 2020by  the  World  Health  Organization.  It  is  not  the  first-time coronavirus  is  being  identified  in  humans.  In  2004,  a  novel coronavirus strain (HCoV-NL63) was isolated from a 7-month-old  child  suffering  from  bronchiolitis  and  conjunctivitist, according to a report in nature medicine, making it the fourth human coronaviruses ever identified.

The other three included,HCoV-229E,  HCoV-OC43  and  severe  acute  respiratorysyndrome  (SARS)-associated  coronavirus  (SARS-CoV1).  While HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43 were identified in mid-1960s and reported  to  cause  common  cold,  SARS-CoV1  was  identifiedabout 20 years ago and was associated with a life-threatening pneumonia.  Other  enteropathogenic-coronavirus-transmissible gastroenteritis  viruses  have  also  been  reported  recently  inanimals.  Until  now  with  the  COVID-19  pandemic  associated with SARS-CoV2, SARS-CoV1 has been the most pathogenichuman coronavirus ever identified with zoonotic transmission. Coronaviruses, which are enveloped viruses with a large plus-strand RNA genome, belong to the genus of the Coronaviridae family. 

The  genomic  RNA  is  27–32  kb  in  size,  capped  and polyadenylated. They are known to be associated with animals and recently a zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV1 and 2 is observed, causing  a  variety  of  severe  diseases,  including gastroenteritis and respiratory tract diseases. As known antiviral agents appear not to be potent against the zoonotic  coronaviruses,  such  as  SARS-CoV1  and  2,  innate defence mechanisms may play a significant role in combating the virus  in  healthy  body  system.

Probiotics,  which  have  been defined  as  live  microbes  which  when  ingested  in  sufficient amount confer health-promoting and boosting attributes on the host, can support the body system in fighting the viral infection. This  may  be  possible  through  several  mechanisms  of  action associated with probiotics including, production of antimicrobialagents, modulation of immune responses and promotion of host innate defence mechanisms.

Joise Angelina
Journal of Probiotics & Health
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