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Trends in Molecular Medicine
Volume 27 (6), 2021, Pages 538-553

Topical Microbial Therapeutics against Respiratory Viral Infections

Irina Spacova1, Ilke De Boeck1, Peter A. Bron1, Peter Delputte1, Sarah Lebeer1

Research Group Environmental Ecology and Applied Microbiology, Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium.


Emerging evidence suggests that microbial therapeutics can prevent and treat respiratory viral diseases, especially when applied directly to the airways. This review presents established beneficial effects of locally administered microbial therapeutics against respiratory viral diseases and the inferred related molecular mechanisms. Several mechanisms established in the intestinal probiotics field as well as novel, niche-specific insights are relevant in the airways. Studies at cellular and organism levels highlight biologically plausible but strain-specific and host and virus context-dependent mechanisms, underlying the potential of beneficial bacteria. Large-scale clinical studies can now be rationally designed to provide a bench-to-bedside translation of the multifactorial bacterial mechanisms within the host respiratory tract, to diminish the incidence and severity of viral infections and the concomitant complications.

Keywords: microbial therapeutics, probiotics respiratory, virus, microbiome, viral infection.

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