There is an erratic progression and presentation of illnesses from COVID-19 from the global perspective. While some countries have leveled off and are lessening restrictions, others like the US continue to spike and have taken the lead in the number of global cases.
The graph below depicts this comparison between the US and other countries:
While the scientific community scurries to find solutions to treating this newly emergent virus, such as a COVID-19 vaccine, the elephant in the room to be addressed is why is the US surging in the number of cases while many other countries have leveled off or are declining in numbers?
The Role of the Microbiota
Over the past decade, the microbiota has become front and center in understanding their role in human health. This collection of organisms, mostly centered in the large intestine, are key modulators of immunity. The development of the human microbiome begins in preconception and the baby inherits these vital microbes which will form their own microbial community from a vaginal birth and subsequent breastfeeding.
The microbiota then begins the task of the development of the innate immune system while the baby receives assistance in adaptive immunity with antibodies donated from mom in the breast milk until they are able to produce their own.
The gastrointestinal immune system is one of the most extensive networks in the body. Although the role of microbes (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and how they regulate this immune function has been established, there is a complex orchestration of microbial-immune crosstalk that is just beginning to be unraveled.
There are many modern day challenges to the healthy establishment, maintenance and nourishment of the microbiota and one of the biggest challenges are antibiotics which will be addressed further below.