BACKGROUND: With the alarming rise of infected cases and deaths, COVID-19 is a pandemic, currently affecting 235 countries worldwide. Until now, no curative medicine and vaccine are available against SARS-CoV-2. The causal virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects lung cells, leading to respiratory illness ranging in severity from common cold to deadly pneumonia. This, with comorbidities worsens the clinical outcome, particularly for, immunosuppressed individuals with COVID-19. Interestingly, commensal gut microbiota has been shown to improve lung infections by modulating the immune system. Therefore, fine-tuning of gut microbiome with the consumption of probiotics could be an alternative strategy for boosting immunity and treating COVID-19.
METHODS: Here, we present a systematic biological network and meta-analysis to provide a rationale for implementation of probiotics in preventing and/or treating COVID-19.
RESULTS: We have identified 90 training genes from the literature analysis (according to PRISMA guidelines) and generated an association network concerning the candidate genes linked with COVID-19 and probiotic treatment. The functional modules and pathway enrichment analysis of the association network clearly show that application of probiotics could have therapeutic effects on ACE2 mediated virus entry, activation of systemic immune response, nlrp3 mediated immunomodulatory pathways, immune cell migration resulting in lung tissue damage and cardiovascular difficulties and altered glucose/lipid metabolic pathways in the disease prognosis. We also demonstrate the potential mechanistic domains as molecular targets for probiotic application to combat the viral infection.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study therefore offers probiotics mediated novel preventive and therapeutic strategy for COVID-19-warfare.