A team of Israeli researchers has identified new drug candidates from probiotic Kefir yogurt that may combat pathogenic bacteria and treat various inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease and Covid-19 infections.
The study, led by researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, highlighted the mechanism by which milk fermented probiotics can protect against pathogenic infections and aid the immune system.
The drug candidates are based on molecules isolated from Kefir yogurt -- a fermented probiotic dairy drink made by infusing cow or goat milk with kefir grains containing yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
The findings, published in the journal Microbiome, demonstrated that the kefir-secreted molecules can significantly reduce virulence of Vibrio cholerae -- which causes cholera. The anti-bacterial effect was based on disrupting communication among the bacterial cells.
Further, the experimental results revealed that the isolated molecules effectively healed mice inflicted with a lethal "cytokine storm" -- the extreme immune response, which is one of the main causes of death in Covid-19 patients.
The molecules not only eliminated the cytokine storm, but also restored balance to the immune system, an extraordinary feat pointing to significant therapeutic potential.