A recent study from the Imperial College London and the Medical University of Warsaw has found that the use of fecal transplants represents a positive method in combating the COVID-19 virus. The findings were published as a letter in the journal, Gut. The study was conducted on two patients, albeit a small cohort, but worthy of discussion. The effort was led by Dr. Ben Mullish in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion, and Reproduction.
An Intriguing Case Series
Both patients were diagnosed with Clostridioides difficile (a bacterial gut infection) but also had Covid-19. The SARS-CoV-2 infection cleared up rapidly after the stool transplantation process. Covid may be detected in stool for a “prolonged period” after the patient has recovered from the virus.
The researchers from the Imperial College study found that after a fecal transplant the covid virus was undetectable in stool for a short period of time. The first patient was an 80-year-old man who had pneumonia and sepsis and the second patient was a 19-year-old man with a form of inflammatory bowel disease. The first patient’s case of covid cleared up two days after the fecal transplant. In the case of the second patient, he was given antibiotics and a stool transplant. Within fifteen hours he was diagnosed with covid, but after two bouts of fever, his symptoms were gone. The second patient was given no other medication to treat the covid virus during this time.
Dr. Ben Mullish, one of the principal investigators working in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion, and Reproduction reported on the study, “Our main conclusion from these cases is that [stool transplant] appears safe and of comparable efficacy in treating recurrent [C difficile infection] in patients with coexisting COVID-19. A more speculative question is as to whether [it] may impact the clinical course of COVID-19.”Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “COVID-19” ChannelNo spam – we promise
Southern California PI Discussion
Dr. Sabine Hazan of Ventura Clinical Trials has worked extensively with fecal transplants and was not surprised by the results of the Imperial College London and Medical University of Warsaw study. Dr. Hazan declared, “Our lab, Progenabiome, has discovered covid in the stools of 100% of patients that had been diagnosed by nasal swab. We also discovered that while SARS COV 2 was in the stools, certain microbes were not present or disappeared. These lost microbes could have set a terrain for the virus to penetrate or the virus caused the destruction of these key microbes. Replenishing these lost microbes with a fecal replacement is core to treatment and eradication of the virus which explains why fecal transplant worked in these two cases. We have to remember that microbes are your immunity.”
Dr. Hazan has extensively researched the loss of “microbiomes” in covid patients. Her research points to the depletion of Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium and loss of microbiome diversity as “potential susceptibility markers” for SARS covid 2 infection and severity. In Dr. Hazan’s study, there were 50 patients and 20 controls. The study found there was “an inverse association between disease severity and both bacterial diversity and Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium abundance.” Hazan feels there may be a relationship between high bacteria in the gut and “natural immunity” to covid. She also cites the fact that obese people, cancer patients, diabetics, and those with compromised immunity all have a lack of microbiomes, and are therefore more susceptible to the covid virus.
According to Dr. Hazan, fecal transplant can be an effective way to fight the covid virus especially in long-term covid sufferers who may have depleted their microbiome or simply still have the virus in their guts for months.
The Imperial College London and Medical University study of Warsaw appear to confirm the method as well. Other studies have indicated stool replacement may work.
Moreover, Dr. Hazan adds she’s been “trying to get fecal transplants for long haulers to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a long time.” Like other possible cures for covid, the FDA seems to be in the backlog. “It’s time for PLAN B,” she says because “we are still very much at square one of this pandemic and we need to allow more therapeutics. Especially some that allow doctors to be doctors. Like a fecal transplant.”
Dr. Ben Mullish, Ph.D. Faculty of Medicine, Department of Metabolism, Digestion, and Reproduction