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Feb. 16, 2021

Using gut bacteria to combat COVID-19

Kenya Honda, Team Leader

Image of Kenya Honda

Laboratory for Gut Homeostasis, Center for Integrative Medical Sciences

Could you give us an overview of your project on COVID-19?

The purpose of our research is to try to develop a way to treat or prevent COVID-19 using bacterial strains isolated from microbiota in the human gut.

What led you to do this research?

The research my group does focuses on how differences in microbiota in the gut affect our health and ability to fight diseases. Our guts host approximately 1,000 different strains of bacteria, and we know that the composition influences susceptibility to many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and allergies. Based on our past work, we thought that differences of gut microbiota composition might explain interindividual variability of the severity of COVID19.

What exactly will your work involve?

We are planning to get stool samples from individuals who recovered from COVID19 and from healthy individuals, and to orally inoculate them into germ-free mice. We will isolate and select bacterial strains that are capable of suppressing viral infection.