New treatment offers potentially new approach to managing SARS-Cov-2 infection
MONTREAL, May 12, 2021 A new study suggests that washing the nose twice-daily with probiotic Lactococcus lactis W136 bacteria reduces symptoms in patients infected with SARS-Cov-2, commonly known as COVID-19.
In a pre-print released on MedRxiv, researchers from the Université de Montréal demonstrated that twice-daily nasal irrigation with Lactococcus lactis W136 initiated within four days of diagnosis of SARS-Cov-2 was superior to saline irrigation alone in reducing the proportion of subjects presenting moderate or severe SARS-Cov-2 symptoms of fatigue, impairment of sense of smell, and shortness of breath.
“Initial mild symptoms of COVID-19 infection can rapidly progress to severe pulmonary and systemic complications, with risk of hospitalisation and long-term disability. We are therefore very excited to see promising results with what may be prove a new tool against the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. If further trials confirm these findings, modulation of intranasal immunity using bacteria may represent a novel, non-antibody-based strategy which could remain effective even in the face of emerging variants”, says Dr Martin Desrosiers, M.D., FRCSC, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and lead investigator for the study.
The proposed mechanism of action for this innovative, non-vaccine-based therapy is believed to be via activation of the patient’s natural antiviral defences during the early phase of SARS-Cov-2 infection where host defences are suppressed by the virus. While it was impossible to directly verify this directly in this no-contact trial where no sampling was performed, observed increases of symptoms of facial tingling and discomfort as well as sore throat with Lactococcus lactis W136 administration nevertheless support the development of nasal inflammation with treatment.
Lactococcus lactis W136 is commercialized since 2018 as ProbiorinseTM for management of chronic sinusitis and nasal allergies. Single dose sachets of ProbiorinseTM contain dry powder for reconstitution with water and are stable at room temperature for easy transport and distribution.
A pre-print of the study is published online on MedRxiv: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.18.21255699.
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