COVID-19 is an evolving pandemic that has far reaching global effects, with a combination of factors that makes the virus difficult to contain. The symptoms of infection can be devastating or at the least very debilitating for vulnerable individuals. It is clear that the elderly are at most risk of the adverse impacts of the virus, including hospitalization and death. Others at risk are those with comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions and those with a hyper-excitable immune response. Treatment options for those with acute responses to the virus are limited and there is an urgent need for potential strategies that can mitigate these severe effects. One potential avenue for treatment that has not been explored is the microbiome gut/lung axis. In addition to those severely affected by their acute reaction to the virus, there is also a need for treatment options for those that are slow to recover from the effects of the infection and also those who have been adversely affected by the measures put in place to arrest the spread of the virus. One potential treatment option is photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy. PBM has been shown over many years to be a safe, effective, non-invasive and easily deployed adjunctive treatment option for inflammatory conditions, pain, tissue healing and cellular energy. We have also recently demonstrated the effectiveness of PBM to alter the gut microbiome. PBM therapy is worthy of consideration as a potential treatment for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly and those with comorbidities. The treatment may potentially be advantageous for those infected with the virus, those who have a slow recovery from the effects of the virus and those who have been denied their normal exercise/rehabilitation programs due to the isolation restrictions that have been imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; immunomodulation; microbiome; mitochondrial dysfunction; photobiomodulation.
copyright: © 2020 Liebert et al.