Rutgers University recently launched a clinical research study to test whether probiotics boost the body’s natural defenses against COVID-19.
A group of 54 unvaccinated participants who have had COVID-19 will be randomly assigned to receive either standard-dose or high-dose probiotics—live beneficial bacteria naturally found in the intestines—or an inactive placebo for three weeks. Participants are asked to fill out weekly surveys for six weeks and provide saliva, stool and samples from the blood and nostrils. These samples will be used to determine whether probiotics increase COVID-19 antibody levels and other parts of the immune system that can protect against COVID-19.
“Probiotics are widely used in foods and supplements, generally regarded as safe, and have been shown to have various health benefits,” said lead investigator Daniel Horton, assistant professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “The probiotics being tested in this trial were chosen specifically to boost the body’s immune protection against COVID-19. This trial will give us insights into a potentially novel way to help in the fight against COVID-19.”
In partnership with Vault Health Inc., the trial is being run virtually, with those involved being able to participate exclusively from their homes.
“The investigation of particular probiotics for their efficacy in controlled clinical studies is consistent with the aims of the recently formed Rutgers University Microbiome Program (RUMP) to bring microbiome advances into the clinic,” said Martin J. Blaser, one of the RUMP leaders, and coinvestigator in the study.