Miquel Bonachera Sierra, CEO and co-founder, and Dr Jordi Espadaler-Mazo, scientific director for AB-Biotics, hosted a webinar revealing the unpublished results to the industry yesterday.
The fast-tracked study was a random placebo-controlled quadruple-blinded clinical trial involving 300 (289 completed) COVID non-hospitalised patients aged 18-60.
Bonachera Sierra says this is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial of symptomatic COVID patients who are not hospitalised (did not require oxygen therapy).
Undertaken at the Hospital General Manuel Gea González, in Mexico, during the summer of 2020, patients were divided into a test or placebo group, both receiving one capsule a day of placebo or the probiotic (L. plantarum and P. acidilactici).
The main finding was that, after 30 days, the remission rate (disappearance of symptoms and a negative RT-PCR) was twice as high in the probiotic group as compared to the placebo group (p < 0.001).
There was also a significant effect on the duration of symptoms from as early as 3 days after treatment initiation. On average, symptoms lasted 3.3 days shorter in the probiotic group.
Speaking about the possible mechanism behind the results, Dr Espadaler-Mazo says that the probiotic appears to work by boosting acquired immunity against the virus - IgG antibodies against SARS CoV-2 in the probiotic group were twice as high as in placebo group (p < 0.01).
"It seems that from the gut this probiotic is boosting acquired immunity against the virus and this effect is statistically significant both after 15 days and after 30 days."
He adds that the effect was significant after adjustments were made for potential influencing factors eg. age, sex, SpO2, BMI, viral load.
Speaking to NutraIngredients, Bonachera Sierra, said: “These are very exciting results, especially as they offer hope for COVID-19 patients who are struggling with the virus at home. At the moment they are told to stay away from the hospitals until they are struggling to breath and there are only very basic OTC medicines that they can take at home to try to reduce the symptoms.
"This offers a way to significantly shorten those symptoms – by 3.3 days on average – which is a substantial amount of time to reduce suffering.”
Dr Espadaler-Mazo says future clinical trials into the effect of the probiotic on COVID-19 may look to study hospitalised patients.
Full results of the study will be published in a peer reviewed journal in due course.