Science

01
What is Microbiome?

For millions of years, humans have been home to the microbiome — the collection of all microorganisms and their corresponding set of genes within an organism. G-NiiB focuses on the microbiome located in the human gut. A common misunderstanding is that all these microorganisms are harmful. This is untrue because some microorganisms assist the body’s immunological, metabolic, and nutritional functions. Over 100 trillion of microbes live inside our body and it makes up 1-3% of human mass, reflecting the influence of the microbiome on human health. Interestingly, big data analysis on G-NiiB’s extensive database reveals Asian and Chinese populations have unique microbiomes compared to other ethnicities. G-NiiB is one of few companies that offers microbiome solutions tailored to the Asian and Chinese populations.

02
What does the microbiome have to do with health?
In healthy individuals, microbiome aids food digestion, regulates immunity, protects against pathogenic infection, and participates in the synthesis of vitamins and other nutrients. In diseased individuals, evidence shows an imbalance of beneficial and pathogenic microbes in the human microbiome, a phenomenon known as dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is shown to correlate with numerous chronic or autoimmune diseases such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, autism, schizophrenia, colorectal cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis. These correlations supports the microbiome as an avenue for disease diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. G-NiiB develops microbial diagnostic test and therapies in relation to seven disease indications:
Weakened or the need to improve immunity
Cancer
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Obesity
Metabolic Diseases
Autism
Dementia
Chronic Pain
03
Probiotics
What are probiotics?

Through products such as cultured milk drink and yogurt, people are familiar with the idea of probiotic bacteria, which, if consumed in diet correlate with health enhancement. Probiotics are scientifically understood as the “good” microbes that improve and replenish the gut microbiome. Clinically, probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that confer health benefits on humans when consumed at appropriate amounts. In our daily lives, probiotics are found in fermented food such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and miso. Nowadays, biotechnology companies cultivate and market specific probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis DN-173 010 as supplements. Very importantly, big data analysis on our exclusive and extensive database reveals Asian and Chinese populations have unique microbiomes compared to other ethnicities, and thus the need for probiotic supplement varies.
What are prebiotics?

Gut microorganisms feed on specific nutrients called prebiotics. The scientific community characterize prebiotics as substances that selectively promote beneficial microbes and probiotics when consumed by humans. Recently, prebiotics are defined as undigested dietary carbohydrates that are consumed by gut microbes to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). In nature, prebiotics are found in human breastmilk and fermentable carbohydrates such as chicory, artichoke, and garlic. Clinically, prebiotics are shown to enhance immune response and reduce disease burden


Immune response enhancement:

  1. Improve antibody production following influenza vaccines  [2, 3] 
  2. May upregulate immune response [5]
  3. Reduce inflammatory response in elderlies [7, 8]


Disease burden reduction

  1. Reduce hospitalization due to influenza and side effects of influenza vaccines [2]
  2. Reduce diarrhea associated fever, febrile seizure incident, antibiotics usage, and duration of infectious disease [4]
  3. Reduce risk of certain immune diseases such as atopic dermatitis [6]


References:

  1. Hill C, G.F., Reid G, Gibson GR, Merenstein DJ, Pot B, et al., The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014(11): p. 506-14.
  2. Langkamp-Henken B., B.B.S., Gardner E.M., Herrlinger-Garcia K.A., Kelley M.J., Murasko D.M., Schaller J.P., Stechmiller J.K., Thomas D.J., Wood S.M.  , Nutritional formula enhanced immune function and reduced days of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in seniors. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc., 2004(52): p. 3–12.
  3. Lomax A.R., C.L.V., Noakes P.S., Miles E.A., Calder P.C., Inulin-type β2-1 fructans have some effect on the antibody response to seasonal influenza vaccination in healthy middle-aged humans. Front. Immunol., 2015(6): p. 490.
  4. Tschernia A., M.N., Abi-Hanna A., Yolken R., Coletta F., Emenhiser C., Saavedra J., Effects of long-term consumption of a weaning food supplemented with oligofructose, a prebiotic, on general infant health status. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. , 1999(29): p. 503.
  5. Clarke S., G.-J.J., Brooks S., Ramdath D., Bercik P., Avila C., Inglis G., Green J., Yanke L., Selinger L. , Β2-1 fructan supplementation alters host immune responses in a manner consistent with increased exposure to microbial components: Results from a double-blinded, randomised, cross-over study in healthy adults. Br. J. Nutr, 2016(115): p. 1748–1759.
  6. Grüber C., v.S.M., Mosca F., Moro G., Chirico G., Braegger C.P., Riedler J., Boehm G., Wahn U., MIPS 1 Working Group, Reduced occurrence of early atopic dermatitis because of immunoactive prebiotics among low-atopy-risk infants. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 2010(126): p. 791–797.
  7. Guigoz Y., R.F., Perruisseau-Carrier G., Rochat I., Schiffrin E., Effects of oligosaccharide on the faecal flora and non-specific immune system in elderly people. Nutr. Res. Rev., 2002. 22: p. 13-25.
  8. Vulevic J., D.A., Yaqoob P., Tzortzis G., Gibson G.R. , Modulation of the fecal microflora profile and immune function by a novel trans-galactooligosaccharide mixture (b-gos) in healthy elderly volunteers. . Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 2008(88): p. 1438–1446.
What are synbiotics?

Synbiotics are a synergistic combination of probiotics and prebiotics. By combining probiotics with prebiotics — probiotics’ nutrient source — synbiotics serve to deliver therapeutic effects greater than probiotics or prebiotics alone. Simply put, synbiotics contain “good” microbes and their food.
04
Our Research

COVID-19 and the microbiome
The human gut microbiome is relevant to COVID-19. The intestinal micro-ecology dominates our immunity. When this micro-ecology is out of balance, we are vulnerable to viruses.


The Centre for Gut Microbiota Research of The Chinese University of Hong Kong discovered for the first time worldwide in June 2020 that COVID-19 patients had missing good bacteria affecting their immunity against infections. There is also sufficient literature to support that lack of these good bacteria will reduce immunity. These findings indicate that COVID-19 infection can cause major changes in the human microbial flora, and the microbial flora may help the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of coronavirus infection.


In a pilot study, 100% of patients who received G-NiiB Immunity formula had complete symptom resolution at two weeks (p<0.0001) and 92% of them developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at Day 16 (p<0.025) compared with 50% and 65%, respectively, in patients who did not receive G-NiiB Immunity formula.


The benefit of G-NiiB Immunity formula is not limited to COVID-19 patients. In 1000 healthy individuals in Hong Kong, almost 40% had imbalance of the gut bacteria (a marker of impaired immunity against infections), which could predispose them to infections including COVID-19.

 

MORE﹕CU Medicine Develops a Probiotic Formula to Target Imbalance in Gut Microbiota in COVID-19

 

1. Zuo T, Liu Q, Zhang F, et al. Depicting SARS-CoV-2 faecal viral activity in association with gut microbiota composition in patients with COVID-19. Gut 2020.
2. Zuo T, Zhan H, Zhang F, et al. Alterations in Fecal Fungal Microbiome of Patients With COVID-19 During Time of Hospitalization until Discharge. Gastroenterology 2020.
3. Zuo T, Zhang F, Lui GCY, et al. Alterations in Gut Microbiota of Patients With COVID-19 During Time of Hospitalization. Gastroenterology 2020; 159(3): 944-55.e8.
4. Mak JWY, Chan FKL, Ng SC. Probiotics and COVID-19: one size does not fit all. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 5(7): 644-5.
5. Ng SC, Tilg H. COVID-19 and the gastrointestinal tract: more than meets the eye. Gut 2020; 69(6): 973-4.

 

Metagenomic sequencing and machine learning
G-NiiB is an avid adopter of big data and machine learning to generate deeper insights on the microbiome. With a proprietary database of over 10,000 subjects, The research team conducted next-generation metagenomic sequencing of over 1,400 samples. Using these big data, our proprietary machine learning algorithm identified specific, food-grade probiotic naturally occurring bacteria strains that correlate with health in Asians. This algorithmic approach underpins the design of G-NiiB’s evidence based -informed synbiotic microbiome precision formula (G-NiiB Immunity+).