Clinical Effects of Streptococcus salivarius K12™ in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients: Results of a Preliminary Study

Source: Microorganisms. 2022 Sep 28;10(10):1926.

Background: Anatomical and physiological considerations indicate that the oral cavity is a primary source of the lung microbiota community, and recent studies have shown that the microbiota in the lungs contributes to immunological homeostasis, potentially altering the organ’s susceptibility to viral infection, including SARS-CoV-2. It has been proposed that, in the case of viral infection, lung Gram-negative bacteria could promote the cytokine cascade with a better performance than a microbiota mainly constituted by Gram-positive bacteria.

Study design: Recent observations also suggest that Prevotella-rich oral microbiotas would dominate the oral cavity of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. In comparison, Streptococcus-rich microbiotas would dominate the oral cavity of healthy people. To verify if the modulation of the oral microbiota could have an impact on the current coronavirus disease, we administered for 14 days a well-recognized and oral-colonizing probiotic (S. salivarius K12™) to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Results: The preliminary results of our randomized and controlled trial seem to prove the potential role of this oral strain in improving the course of the main markers of pathology, as well as its ability to apparently reduce the death rate from COVID-19.

Conclusion: Although in a preliminary and only circumstantial way, our results seem to confirm the hypothesis of a direct involvement of the oral microbiota in the construction of a lung microbiota whose taxonomic structure could modulate the inflammatory processes generated at the pulmonary and systemic level by a viral infection.