Medical Food Therapy for Post-COVID Conditions: Mechanism and Clinical Study

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a growing population of individuals recovering from severe acute respiratory syndrome. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention uses the term “post-COVID conditions” as an umbrella term for the wide range of health consequences that can last for four or more weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Post-COVID conditions are associated with a spectrum of physical, social, and psychological consequences, as well as functional limitations that can present substantial challenges to patients’ health, wellness, and quality of life. Researchers are working to characterize and differentiate the multiple possible etiologies, such as organ damage resulting from acute phase infection, and complications from a dysregulated inflammatory state, and ongoing viral activity associated with an intra-host viral reservoir. However, efficient treatment and management is still challenging.

Medical food interventions play a significant role in the management of post-COVID conditions. However, the efficacy and mechanism of medical food therapy on post-COVID conditions have not been explored well. This Research Topic invites original research and review articles that provide novel findings on mechanism and clinical study of medical food therapy for post-COVID conditions. This Research Topic aims to feature research on, but not limited to, the specific efficacy and mechanisms of herbal, nutraceuticals, functional foods, and dietary supplements and their impacts on treating post-COVID conditions. We welcome submissions on medical foods used in any of the traditional health care systems globally, including of course, traditional Chinese medicine. Insights in the areas of intracellular and extracellular signals, effective targeted therapy strategies, and other investigating challenges and opportunities associated with the mechanism for treating post-COVID conditions with medical food are also welcome.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Clinical evidence for the efficacy of treating post-COVID conditions with herbal medicines, novel nutraceuticals, functional foods, ‘botanicals’, and dietary supplements.
• The mechanism of the medical food on treating post-COVID conditions.
• The study of single-cell RNA sequencing, bulk RNA sequencing, and spatial transcriptomics for the interaction between such medicinal foods and the multiple systems for the patient with post-COVID conditions.
• Regulatory roles of non-coding RNAs and exosomes in the interaction between medical food and the multiple systems for the patient with post-COVID conditions.
• Regulatory roles of immune cells in disease state by medical food.
• Animal models for researching the interaction such medicinal foods and the multiple systems for patients with post-COVID conditions in vivo.
• Intracellular and extracellular signaling pathways in the interaction between medical food and the multiple systems for the patient with post-COVID conditions.
• Intervention and observational studies using such medical foods.
• Novel nutraceuticals, functional foods, and dietary supplements as potential conducts for improving the life quality of patient with post-COVID conditions.

If extracts of food or medicinal plants are used, these need to be characterized adequately including full botanical authentication and chemical characterization as needed. Pharmacological research and manuscripts relating to non-food compounds and herbal medicines should be submitted to Frontiers in Pharmacology. In such cases, the manuscripts submitted to this project will be peer-reviewed and need to fully comply with the Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology (you can freely download the full version here). Importantly, please ascertain that the ethnopharmacological context is clearly described (pillar 3d) and that the material investigated is characterized in detail chemically (pillars 2 a and b, see the ConPhyMP statement Front. Pharmacol. 13:953205. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.953205).

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Posted on

September 30, 2023