Coronavirus: Poo transplant 'unexpectedly' appears to help cure two sick COVID-19 patients

First, the good news - scientists might have stumbled upon an unlikely treatment for COVID-19.

Now the bad - it involves getting a faecal microbiota transplant which, as you might have guessed, is literally having someone else's poo shoved up your bum. 

Two cases where it worked are detailed in a new paper published in British journal Gut

The first involved an 80-year-old man with pneumonia and sepsis, in addition to a potentially fatal infection of a bacteria called Clostridioides difficile. 

Typical treatment failed, so doctors did a poo transplant. That same day, he tested positive for COVID-19 and developed a fever - bad signs for a man his age, COVID-19 being particularly dangerous for the elderly.

But just two days later, the fever "unexpectedly" disappeared and never came back. While he did receive antiviral medication remdesivir and plasma containing antibodies to the SARS-CoV2 virus, "clinical benefits from remdesivir usually occur after a median of 10 days, and clinical trials show limited benefits of convalescent plasma in COVID-19", the study said - saying they were unlikely to be behind his miraculous recovery. 

The second case was a 19-year-old with inflammatory bowel disease who was also suffering a Clostridioides difficile infection. Fifteen hours after his poo transplant he developed symptoms of COVID-19, presumably having picked up the virus sometime in the week or two before being hospitalised. 

"Subsequently, other than two isolated episodes of fever, his COVID-19 symptoms cleared up without being given any specific treatment for them," the scientists said. 

Analysis of the two patients' poo showed traces of the virus disappeared more quickly than usual too. 

"Our main conclusion from these cases is that [stool transplant] appears safe and of comparable efficacy in treating recurrent [C difficile infection] in patients with coexisting COVID-19," the scientists wrote. "A further more speculative question is whether [it] may impact the clinical course of COVID-19."

A clinical trial is now being planned to see if it was just a coincidence or really does work. If it does, it perhaps shouldn't be a surprise - faecal transplants (via the bum or mouth) have been promise in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes, obesity, stomach infections, food allergies and even depression