Research shows asthma may protect against coronavirus

Asthma does not appear to be associated with worse development COVID-19 and yes it could protect against this disease, at least in a certain group of asthma patients with the T2 phenotype, according to a study by pulmonologists at the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona.

Research published this Monday in the journal ERJ Open Research confirmed that only 3.2% of seriously ill hospitalized patients suffered from asthma, a lower prevalence than the general population, which is about 6%.

Asthma is one of the major respiratory diseases worldwide, and since SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory pathogen, doctors at Vall d’Hebron wanted to quantify the risk that the current COVID-19 pandemic could pose. for asthma patients.

For this reason, a group of researchers from the Pneumology group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), led by Maria Jesus Cruz, head of the VHIR pneumology group, and Xavier Muñoz, the principal investigator of the same group, tried to find out if asthma is a risk factor for COVID-19 and they find asthma is not associated with the worst development of coronavirus.

In a study involving 71 asthma patients admitted to the Vall d’Hebron Hospital for pneumonia caused by COVID between March 1 and June 30, pulmonologists saw the importance of phenotypes as asthma may be a protective factor against SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially in asthmatic patients with the T2 phenotype.

The working hypothesis was based on the first studies published in China, Korea and New York on the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and patients with bronchial asthma in whom asthma has not been identified as a risk factor for COVID. -19 is serious.

Based on this information, the researchers estimated the prevalence of asthma in hospitalized patients with severe coronavirus pneumonia in the Barcelona area, where the prevalence of asthma is around 6%.

The study performed a cross-sectional analysis of all patients admitted to Vall d’Hebron with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (2226 patients), and data on phenotype, severity and treatment were collected from 71 patients with asthma. they were still suffering from asthma.

The severity of COVID-19 was recorded based on oxygen demand and ventilation. and the results of a chest x-ray.

Of the 71 patients, 42 had the Non-T2 phenotype, 20 were allergic (T2-Th2) and 9 were eosinophilic (T2-ILC2).

Patients with a phenotype other than T2 had a more severe severity of COVID-19, but evolution with standard treatment was good in 67 (94%) patients, and four died.

There was no correlation between patients receiving inhaled corticosteroids for asthma. between the dose of inhaled corticosteroids and the severity of COVID-19.

“Our results support the idea that asthma is not a risk factor for COVID-19, at least in hospitalized patients with more serious forms of infection,” concluded Xavier Muñoz.

Then the researchers saw that 3.2% of hospitalized patients with severe illness suffered from asthma, lower prevalence than in the general population treated in this hospital.

“If we also take into account that 54 (76%) of 71 affected patients had comorbidities that have been shown to be directly related to SARS-CoV-2 involvement, the prevalence of asthmatics without other disorders suffering from severe illness is reduced. up to 0.8% ”, – said Maria Jesus Cruz.

While some studies have shown that inhaled choricosteroids used to treat asthma may protect against COVID, this study. “found no relationship between inhaled corticosteroid dose and severity of COVID-19as well as the relationship between eosinophil levels and possible protection from the virus, with no exacerbation of asthma seen as with other coronaviruses, ”Muñoz said.

“Although the present study has inherent limitations due to its design, the results indicate that asthma may be a protective factor against SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially in patients with asthma with the T2 phenotype, and if replicated in studies with more patients could open up a new direction of research in the fight against covid, ”concluded the pulmonologist.

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