In March Dr Xavier Cortés, gastroenterologist at Hospital de Sagunto, communicated with medical staff in China who had observed that many COVID-19 patients had exhibited abnormal changes in their gut microbiome.
The reports indicated a significant percentage of infected people experienced gastrointestinal problems in the early stages of the illness, similar to the trend he was observing in Spain. This trend is particularly prevalent in elderly patients, who tend to have lower levels of beneficial bifidobacterial content in their gut microbiome.
Following his assessment, a decision was made that an interventional trial should be conducted to evaluate the effects of providing standard medication to elderly COVID- 19 patients, along with a live microbial supplement to help support gut health and immune function. Dr Cortés contacted ADM’s scientific team for advice on the most potentially suitable live microbial strains to use during the trial, and to invite the team to collaborate with Hospital de Sagunto in the design of the clinical trial.
Gasteel Plus, a live microbial probiotic-based food supplement marketed by Laboratorios Heel España, S.A.U. and formulated using ADM probiotic strains, as well as essential nutrients vitamin D, selenium and zinc, was selected in this interventional trial.
The product has been administered to patients with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as to healthcare personnel at the hospital who fall into high-risk groups (the over 60s or those with chronic diseases), at Hospital de Sagunto, to strengthen their gut microbiota.