The immunomodulatory effects of probiotics on respiratory viral infections: A hint for COVID-19 treatment?
Mohammad Miri, Seyed
Respiratory virus infections are among the most prevalent diseases in humans and contribute to morbidity and mortality in all age groups. Moreover, since they can evolve fast and cross the species barrier, some of these viruses, such as influenza A and coronaviruses, have sometimes caused epidemics or pandemics and were associated with more serious clinical diseases and even mortality. The recently identified Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a Public Health Emergency of International concern and has been associated with rapidly progressive pneumonia. To ensure protection against emerging respiratory tract infections, the development of new strategies based on modulating the immune responses is essential. The use of probiotic components has substantially increased due to their effects on immune responses, in particular on those that occur in the upper/lower respiratory tract. Superinduction of inflammatory reaction, known as a cytokine storm, has been correlated directly with viral pneumonia and serious complications of respiratory infections. In this review, probiotics, as potential immunomodulatory agents, have been proposed to improve the host's response to respiratory viral infections. In addition, the effects of probiotics on different aspects of immune responses and their antiviral properties in both pre-clinical and clinical contexts have been described in detail.