LONDON, ONT. -- As dozens of studies surrounding COVID-19 are underway locally, Lawson Health Research Institute scientist and professor at Western University, Dr. Gregor Reid, believes probiotics could play a positive role.

“The microbes in our body play a big role in what happens to us in disease and health. What we are trying to say is can we not use those beneficial ones to fight against the ones that are damaging us?”

Reid says studies looking at how probiotics help respiratory tract infections as well as sepsis have been done.

Those studies are not COVID-19-related, however he, along with a team of more than 100 scientists around the world, believe probiotics need to be studied when it comes to the fight against  the virus.

“We know the virus infects in the lungs and comes up the nose and binds to receptors in the nose and possibly infect the brain and also infects the gut,” says Reid.

“As it turns out some lactobacilli strains, which are probiotic strains, can produce a peptide that stops this binding.”

After recently working with scientist in the U.K. to push for probiotic COVID-related research, Reid has applied for a research grant to do the same in London.

“So what I would like to see is pay much more attention to what certain strains can do and then to go out and attempt studies on patients who are otherwise are very sick or are dying.”

Reid, who is world renowned in his probiotic research, is hopeful he will eventually get the go-ahead to conduct a clinical trial with specific probiotics strains.

“If you look at the literature there is a reason to consider this approach and we are just asking those at the front line and those who are funding to say look, why don’t we come out and try something?”