Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid19) has affected the livelihood of many and has burdened the health care system, especially in a populated country like India, the management of the severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS CoV2) has been challenging. Currently limited data is available to treat this disease pharmacologically and targeting vaccination for a huge population like India requires time and strategic planning. At present the total confirmed cases in India are 22,296,414 and the total death tally raises to 2, 42,362 (WHO Corona virus dashboard, 3rd May 2021).

The current understanding of the disease suggests that it is transmitted via droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus remains suspended in air droplets or on surfaces. And when an individual comes in contact with the infected surface or the droplets that contain the virus and thereafter touches eyes, nose or mouth becomes infected or becomes the asymptomatic carrier of the disease. Evidences also suggest fecal transmission of the disease. However latest research shows that even breathing or talking could release tiny particles (Bioaerosols) carrying the SARS – CoV-2 virus that causes COVID19.

The known symptoms of this disease are dry cough, fever, sore throat, gastrointestinal disorder, fatigue and headache. Pneumonia is the most common and severe symptom of the infection.

We are by now aware that only by abiding the 3 golden rules of the pandemic viz., wearing a mask, washing/sanitizing hands at regular intervals and by maintaining social distancing as a whole country we will be able to overcome this pandemic.

While the basics of good hygiene practices are being stressed over and over again, it is important for us to also remember that good nutrition plays a very important role to build a strong immune response to combat the implication of this disease.

Recent researches have suggested beneficial therapeutic affect of probiotics in the management of the disease. Probiotics are living microorganisms that offer health benefits right from fermenting carbohydrates to synthesizing vitamins and regulating intestinal permeability to even inhibiting pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Our gut is a symbiotic habitat for microorganisms that plays an indispensable role of maintaining intestinal hemostasis. The composition of these microbiome varies from one person to another and is influenced by environmental factors.

Decrease in the population of intestinal organisms is observed with increasing age, the living environment, food habits, malnutrition, health condition and use of NSAID.

Consumption of probiotic as a strategy to enrich the gut immunity may also decrease the risk or modify respiratory health infection by enhancing the stimulation of T regulatory response (Anti – inflammatory mediators) in the airway of the lungs.

Fermentation has been one of the oldest techniques practiced in every Indian kitchen traditionally right from the making of Curd, Pickles, Dhokla to the south Indian Idly/Dosa for culturing live microorganisms that are beneficial for health.

While nutrition is just a part of a strong immune maintenance for good health, it is important that along with eating a balanced nutritious meal we provide our body with adequate hydration, quality sleep, exposure to sunlight and keep physically active, while ensuring to wear a mask at all times.

Reference:

1. Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China.
Guan WJ, Ni ZY, Hu Y, Liang WH, Ou CQ, He JX, Liu L, Shan H, Lei CL, Hui DSC, Du B, Li LJ, Zeng G, Yuen KY, Chen RC, Tang CL, Wang T, Chen PY, Xiang J, Li SY, Wang JL, Liang ZJ, Peng YX, Wei L, Liu Y, Hu YH, Peng P, Wang JM, Liu JY, Chen Z, Li G, Zheng ZJ, Qiu SQ, Luo J, Ye CJ, Zhu SY, Zhong NS, China Medical Treatment Expert Group for Covid-19.
N Engl J Med. 2020 Apr 30; 382(18):1708-1720.

2. https://covid19.who.int/
WHO Corona virus dashboard
3. Sundararaman, A., Ray, M., Ravindra, P. V., & Halami, P. M. (2020). Role of probiotics to combat viral infections with emphasis on COVID-19. Applied microbiology and biotechnology, 104(19), 8089–8104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-020-10832-4
4. Benefaction of probiotics for human health: A review.
George Kerry R, Patra JK, Gouda S, Park Y, Shin HS, Das G
J Food Drug Anal. 2018 Jul; 26(3):927-939

5. Human nutrition, the gut microbiome and the immune system.
Kau AL, Ahern PP, Griffin NW, Goodman AL, Gordon JI
Nature. 2011 Jun 15; 474(7351):327-36.

6. The Human Gut Microbiota.
Harmsen HJ, de Goffau MC
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016; 902():95-108.

7. Probiotics for prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Wang Y, Li X, Ge T, Xiao Y, Liao Y, Cui Y, Zhang Y, Ho W, Yu G, Zhang T
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Aug; 95(31):e4509.

8. The effect of age and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on human intestinal microbiota composition.
Mäkivuokko H, Tiihonen K, Tynkkynen S, Paulin L, Rautonen N
Br J Nutr. 2010 Jan; 103(2):227-34.