COVID lockdowns altered babies’ microbiomes

Babies born during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic have a different composition of gut microbes compared with those born before the introduction of lockdowns in March 2020.

  • The gut microbiome — the colony of microorganisms that reside in the digestive tract — is important to many aspects of bodily function and development, and its imbalance has been linked to psychiatric disorders, skin conditions and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Babies acquire many gut microbes from their environment, and evidence is emerging to suggest that being born into the unique situation of a lockdown can have a lasting effect on the microbiome, which can, in turn, affect other aspects of infants’ development.

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