Established in 2020 Saturday, January 16, 2021


CUHK researchers hope to boost immunity for SARS-CoV-2
From right: Professor Francis CHAN, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research; Professor Siew NG, Associate Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research; and Dr. Joyce MAK, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics; CU Medicine. Image courtesy: The Chinese University of Hong Kong.



HONG KONG.- Gut microbiota plays an important role in regulating immunity against infections. People who suffer from imbalance in gut microbiota (dysbiosis) are more susceptible to viral infection and other complications. An earlier study by the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong has highlighted that severe gut dysbiosis exists in COVID-19 patients.

A recent study by CU Medicine revealed a worrying fact that 40% of Hong Kong people appeared to have significant gut dysbiosis comparable to that of COVID-19 patients, suggesting they have potentially impaired immunity. CU Medicine has developed a microbiome immunity formula that targets gut dysbiosis. Compared with patients who had standard care, the research team found that more COVID-19 patients who received the microbiome immunity formula achieved complete symptom resolution, showed significantly reduced proinflammatory markers in their blood, had increased favourable bacteria in their stool; and developed neutralising antibody. Data also suggested that the formula can restore the balance of gut microbiota and boosts immunity.

40% of people in HK have moderate to severe gut dysbiosis related to impaired immunity
To evaluate the extent of dysbiosis in the general population, CU Medicine studied 1,000 subjects in Hong Kong aged between 18 and 83, and found that almost 40% of them had significant dysbiosis (i.e., impaired immunity) comparable to that of COVID-19 patients.

Professor Francis KL CHAN, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CUHK remarked, “Gut dysbiosis is an important marker of impaired immunity. Our study findings showed 40% of Hong Kong people had evidence of significant dysbiosis comparable to that of COVID-19 patients which is alarming to us. We should take immediate action to restore the balance in gut microbiota and hence to help the public boost immunity against the threats of emerging infections such as COVID-19.”

CUHK’s microbiome immunity formula enhances recovery of COVID-19 patients
Using big data analysis and metagenomics derived from COVID-19 patients, researchers in CU Medicine has developed a unique oral microbiome formula that targets gut dysbiosis. Clinical data showed the recovery of COVID-19 patients who received the microbiome immunity formula outperformed those with standard care in many aspects. These include the achievement of complete symptom resolution; significant reduction of proinflammatory markers in their blood, increase in favourable bacteria in their stool and development of neutralising antibody.




Amid the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, the CU Medicine team recruited 55 hospitalised patients with COVID-19; 25 patients were treated with the microbiome immunity formula and 30 received standard care. Key findings are as follow:

• 100% of patients treated with the microbiome immunity formula achieved complete resolution of symptoms compared with half in the control group by week 2.

• 88% of patients in the microbiome immunity formula group developed neutralizing antibody compared with 63% in the control group.

• The blood level of pro-inflammatory cytokines was significantly reduced in the microbiome immunity formula group, indicating that inflammation was under control.

• The levels of favourable bacteria recovered from stool in patients receiving the microbiome immunity formula was significantly increased, suggesting that the formula could restore gut dysbiosis.

Professor Siew Chien NG, Associate Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CUHK, explained, “This study demonstrated that the microbiome immunity formula is effective in replenishing a series of good bacteria missing in the gut of COVID-19 patients. Restoration of gut dysbiosis could hasten symptom resolution, enhances host immunity and increases neutralising antibody. These data support the use of microbiome therapy as a potential strategy to restore gut dysbiosis to fight against COVID-19.”

Professor Francis KL CHAN concluded, “The imbalance of gut microbiota is common among Hong Kong people, indicating that many are suffering from impaired immunity. While there are many products in the market claiming that they could boost immunity, such claims need further scientific evidence. The development of this unique microbiome immunity formula was backed up by science and its benefits are supported by clinical evidence against COVID-19. The formula not only has the potential to hasten the recovery of COVID-19 patient, but also helps boost immunity of the public.”







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Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez



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