The Jerusalem Post:
Pre-clinical research by Israeli scientists, published in Microbiome, indicates that Kefir could be used to treat cytokine storms caused by coronavirus.
Can a cup of probiotic yogurt help save the lives of people with COVID-19?
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev say they have identified molecules in kefir that are effective at treating various inflammatory conditions, including “cytokine storms” caused by COVID-19. Kefir, which is similar to yogurt but thinner in consistency, is a fermented drink made by inoculating cow’s or goat’s milk with microorganism mixtures, such as yeast and bacteria.
A cytokine storm is when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and attacks itself – one of the leading causes of death in COVID-19 patients.
The research was conducted by PhD student Orit Malka and Prof. Raz Jelinek, vice president and dean for research and development at BGU. It was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Microbiome.
Several years before the coronavirus pandemic, Malka noticed that yogurt had a therapeutic effect and began studying it in Jelinek’s lab, Jelinek told The Jerusalem Post. They identified molecules in the yogurt that had dramatic antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
“One of the main reasons people die of COVID is the cytokine storm,” Jelinek said. “Cytokines are immune molecules that are designed to help the body fight invaders like viruses. But in certain circumstances, and scientists don’t know exactly why, the body goes into a sort of overdrive and secretes many cytokines – so many that it kills you. That is what happens during COVID.”
“We knew that we had found these molecules in yogurt with anti-inflammatory properties,” he said. “So, when COVID started, we said, Let’s see if these molecules can help against cytokine storms.”