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Probiotics vs. Pandemic

From left: Prof. Siew Ng, associate director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research, Prof. Paul Chan, chairman of the Department of Microbiology, Prof. Francis Chan, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research

The Faculty of Medicine has developed a probiotic formula in light of the unbalanced gut flora in many of those infected in the pandemic, as a first-of its-kind study shows. Involving 150 patients and 1,500 healthy individuals, the investigation reveals a lack of good bacteria in the patients’ guts. Imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiota can weaken our immune system, making us susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.

In view of its findings, the research team has developed a probiotic formula that targets the imbalance and potentially helps with immunity. While drawing up the formula, the team took into account differences in lifestyle across cultures with the help of big data. The Faculty has applied for patents for this innovation and is collaborating with the industry to turn the formula into a supplement that goes with our diet. Large-scale clinical trials are also underway to demonstrate the role of gut health in preventing novel infectious diseases.