Mechanisms linking the human gut microbiome to prophylactic and treatment strategies for COVID-19

Br J Nutr. 2021 Jul 28;126(2):219-227. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520003980. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


The recent COVID-19 pandemic has altered the face of biology, social interaction and public health worldwide. It has had a destructive effect upon millions of people and is approaching a devastating one million fatalities. Emerging evidence has suggested a link between the infection and gut microbiome status. This is one of the several factors that may contribute towards severity of infection. Given the fact that the gut is heavily linked to immunity, inflammatory status and the ability to challenge pathogens, it is worthwhile to consider dietary intervention of the gut microbiota as means of potentially challenging the viral outcome. In this context, probiotics and prebiotics have been used to mitigate similar respiratory infections. Here, we summarise links between the gut microbiome and COVID-19 infection, as well as propose mechanisms whereby probiotic and prebiotic interventions may act.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Gut microbiome; Prebiotics; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Synbiotics


  • Prebiotics