People infected with COVID-19 are seriously affected by the liver, kidney, heart, spleen and even the bowel conditions. A new study revealed that autopsy and other studies on COVID patients showed a severe impact on the gut immune system.
In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, researchers found out that the system that normally regulates the composition of the microbial communities, known as Peyer’s Patches, was severely disrupted in severe covid-19. This was irrespective of whether there was evidence of a virus present in the gut or not.
While COVID-19 patients have a wide range of symptoms and severities leading to breathing problems and high fever, some patients can experience diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, which suggests the involvement of the gastrointestinal tract.
The samples collected in autopsy showed that the structure and cellularity in Peyer’s Patches had been altered independently of the local levels of the virus. This included depletion of the germinal centers, which normally propagate antibody-producing cells, in patients who died with COVID-19.
This weakened local immunity could result in microbial diversity, known as dysbiosis. Researchers also noted that the findings suggest that oral vaccination may not be effective if the patient is already ill, as the gut immune system is already compromised.
A 2021 study on gut health suggested that the diversity of the gut microbiota is known to decline with increasing age. Similarly, there is a link between altered gut microbiota and chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, conditions that predispose individuals to severe COVID-19.