In a letter published in the journal Gut, researchers have suggested using stool transplants to treat COVID. They have said this method could help boost the immune system, which is vital when it comes to fighting COVID.
What is a stool transplant?
During a faecal microbiota transplant, doctors take bacteria and microbes from the gut of a healthy individual and transfer it to a person who needs to increase their body’s immune responses.
In simpler terms, they transplant a healthy person’s poo into a sick person’s colon. This kind of transplant has been known to be a very effective treatment for bacterial infections, specifically a type called Clostridioides difficile also known as C difficile.
In the letter, the researchers outlined that the procedure was used in two people who were suffering from C difficile, and also had COVID at the same time.
The first person who had undergone the treatment was an 80-year-old who had a recurrent C difficile infection along with pneumonia and sepsis. He then started presenting symptoms that matched COVID, and when he was tested he was found to be positive. His treatment included a stool transplant, remdesivir, and plasma that contained COVID-fighting antibodies. Two days after the transplant, the man’s coronavirus symptoms had disappeared.
The same thing happened to a 19-year-old who had an inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. As he was being treated, he began developing COVID-like symptoms and tested positive. He was then given a stool transplant for his bowel disease, but his COVID remained untreated. After the transplant, his COVID symptoms automatically cleared up as well.
The authors of the study are now hoping to do further research to find out whether a stool transplant can become an official treatment for the virus. They wrote:
These data let us speculate that gut microbiome manipulation may merit further exploration as an immunomodulatory strategy in Covid-19.