A study conducted at a research and training hospital in the capital Ankara found links between COVID-19 and a widely-infectious bacteria.
The study – Effect of Helicobacter Pylori on the Presentation and Clinical Course of COVID-19 Infection – was published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition last month.
Leading the research, Dr. Necati Balamtekin from Gülhane Training and Research Hospital told Anadolu Agency that helicobacter is one of the most common and infectious bacteria in the world.
In Turkey, the bacteria is seen in one in every two people, often without any symptoms, and it may cause stomach ulcers and gastritis, and even some types of cancer, Balamtekin said.
Through their research, he said they found that those with the bacteria in their bodies had more severe discomfort in the digestive system if they contract the novel coronavirus.
“The helicobacter increases the frequency of ACE-2 receptors, which are the gateway of the coronavirus into the body, in the gastrointestinal (digestive) system. This causes digestive system symptoms of the coronavirus, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, to be seen more frequently in people with H. pylori,” he said.
Balamtekin urged those with helicobacter to get immediate treatment, if they are also at high risk groups for COVID-19, so that they would face fewer digestive issues in case they contract the virus.
He said the study was conducted among 100 COVID-19 patients in a six-month period.
“Ours will guide future studies in this field. The relation between helicobacter and COVID-19 will be studied further, and more detailed research will be conducted from now on all over the world. We will do it as well,” he added.