The mysterious key to Japan’s low death rate from Covid-19

The content of a type of gut bacteria that helps prevent SARS-CoV-2 from attaching to human cells is thought to help the mortality rate from Covid-19 in Japan and some countries is low.

To find out the mysterious factor that helps the death rate from Covid-19 in some Asian countries like Japan or some Nordic countries like Finland to be low, scientists at Nagoya University (Japan) analyzed data on the gut microbiota of 953 healthy people in 10 countries.

The mysterious key that helps Japan have a low death rate from Covid-19 - Photo 1

People wearing masks on the street in Tokyo


According to the sheet The Japan Times On January 14, the study was conducted in February 2021, when the Covid-19 vaccine was not widely distributed. Using advanced machine learning modeling, the scientists analyzed 30 important types of gut bacteria and classified the data into five groups of gut bacteria, known as enterotypes, based on similarity in their composition. their microorganisms.

The scientists compared this data with mortality rates in 10 countries and found that the number of collinsella bacteria was inversely proportional to the mortality rate. Specifically, the enterotype group with the lowest amount of collinsella bacteria had a high mortality rate from Covid-19.

In countries with low mortality from Covid-19 such as Korea, Japan, and Finland, the enterotype group with the highest amount of collinsella bacteria dominates, about 34-61% of the intestinal microbiota composition. In countries with high mortality rates such as the UK, Belgium, the US and Italy, the enterotype group with the highest rate of collinsella accounted for only 4-18% while the enterotype group with the lowest level of collinsella dominated.

Associate Professor Masaaki Hirayama, who led the study, explained that collinsella converts bile acids into ursodeoxycholic acid – an acid that helps prevent the Corona virus from attaching to receptors on cells and inhibits a dangerous immune response called a “cytokine storm” “.

The Nagoya University scientists added that many factors such as age, level of psychological stress can affect the gut microbiome, but enterotype groups are thought to be influenced by food intake and not be too related to race or gender.

Mr. Hirayama said the purpose of this study is to find out some part of the mysterious factor to use as a breakthrough treatment. The study was peer-reviewed and published in medical journals Plos One in November 2021.

It is not clear whether the mortality rate is higher in people who have been vaccinated but have lower levels of collinsella. However, based on the research results, Mr. Hirayama said he is working with respiratory doctors to see if this gut bacteria plays a role in the progression of some Covid-19 patients. Are not.

To date, Japan has recorded more than 1.83 million Covid-19 infections and 18,423 deaths.