Do an altered gut microbiota and an associated leaky gut affect COVID-19 severity?

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has been declared a pan-demic, has exhibited a wide range of severity worldwide. Although this global variation is largely affected by socio-medical situations in each country, there is also high individual-level variation attributable to elderliness and certain underlying medical conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. As both elderliness and the aforementioned chronic conditions are often associated with an altered gut microbiota, resulting in disrupted gut barrier integrity, and gut symptoms have con-sistently been associated with more severe illness in COVID-19 patients, it is possible that dysfunction of the gut as a whole influences COVID-19 severity. This article sum-marizes the accumulating evidence that supports the hypothesis that an altered gut microbiota and its associated leaky gut may contribute to the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and occasionally to additional multiorgan complications that may lead to severe illness by allowing leakage of the causative coronavirus into the circulatory system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03022-20
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Gut barrier integrity
  • Gut microbiota
  • Leaky gut
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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