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Mahooti et al. (2021): Immunity, Probiotics, and Respiratory Infection.

We have heard about cytokines storms.  Infections with influenza produce many cytokines in the respiratory system, such as IL-12 (one of the mediators of Th1 immune-response), interferon (IFN)-γ (representative of Th1 cytokine), IL-4 and IL-10 (Th2 cytokines), IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (pro-inflammatory cytokines), and IFN-α and IFN-β.   

This 2021 article by Mahootie reviews the immune modulation of probiotics for serious viral infections. The review takes a look at Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum among others as immuno-modulatory agents to help the body's respond to infections. 


Respiratory virus infections are among the most prevalent diseases in humans and contribute to morbidity and mortality in all age groups. Moreover, since they can evolve fast and cross the species barrier, some of these viruses, such as influenza A and coronaviruses, have sometimes caused epidemics or pandemics and were associated with more serious clinical diseases and even mortality. The recently identified Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a Public Health Emergency of International concern and has been associated with rapidly progressive pneumonia. To ensure protection against emerging respiratory tract infections, the development of new strategies based on modulating the immune responses is essential. The use of probiotic components has substantially increased due to their effects on immune responses, in particular on those that occur in the upper/lower respiratory tract. Superinduction of inflammatory reaction, known as a cytokine storm, has been correlated directly with viral pneumonia and serious complications of respiratory infections. In this review, probiotics, as potential immunomodulatory agents, have been proposed to improve the host's response to respiratory viral infections. In addition, the effects of probiotics on different aspects of immune responses and their antiviral properties in both pre-clinical and clinical contexts have been described in detail.


  • Mahooti, M., Miri, S. M., Abdolalipour, E., & Ghaemi, A. (2020). The immunomodulatory effects of probiotics on respiratory viral infections: A hint for COVID-19 treatment?. Microbial pathogenesis, 104452. Article
  • Khaled, J. M. (2020). Probiotics, prebiotics, and COVID-19 infection: A review article. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. Article

    Sincerely yours,


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