Bronchial asthma does not affect symptoms in COVID-19
Bronchial asthma does not appear to increase the severity of COVID-19. This is evident from a new study. According to a research team, this condition doesn’t seem to increase the risk for a person suffering from COVID-19. However, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and obesity are still risk factors for the development and progression of the viral infection.
Coronavirus and bronchial asthma
People with asthma and those with decreased lung function who are being treated for asthmatic inflammation do not appear to be affected any worse by SARS-CoV-2. However, there is limited data on why this is so. People with asthma can become very vigilant about personal hygiene and social distancing. Additionally, it could improve control as people who quarantine themselves are also less likely to be exposed to seasonal triggers, which include allergens or respiratory viruses. There is also evidence that people are more careful about taking their asthma medication during the pandemic, which can contribute to overall health. Inhaled corticosteroids, commonly used to protect against asthma attacks, can also reduce the virus’ ability to establish an infection.
However, studies have shown that steroids can decrease the body’s immune response and worsen the inflammatory response. Steroids have also been shown to delay the clearance of the SARS and MERS viruses from the airways. Thus, these could worsen the infection caused by coronavirus. Future research should investigate whether inhaled steroids increase or decrease the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Depending on the type, the effects should then be different. The susceptibility and severity of a COVID-19 infection increases with age. However, asthmatics tend to be younger than those with reported high-risk diseases. For this reason, adapted studies can help better understand whether age is a factor.
A case for pulmonology
Children and young adults with asthma suffer primarily from allergic inflammation. Elderly people who experience the same type of airway inflammation may also have eosinophilic asthma, which is a more severe form. In these cases, patients have abnormally high levels of a type of white blood cell. These help the body fight infections. These can cause inflammation in the airways, sinuses, nasal passages, and lower airways. This could increase the risk of a serious case of COVID-19. Additionally, an enzyme that is bound to cell membranes in the lungs, artery, heart, kidney and intestine and has been shown to be the entry point for SARS-CoV-2 into cells is increased in response to the virus.
Scientists also believe that this enzyme may be beneficial in eliminating other respiratory viruses, especially in children. How this enzyme affects SARS-CoV-2’s ability to infect people with asthma is still unclear. Bronchial asthma is usually dependent on far fewer other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cardiovascular disease. If SARS-CoV-2 is a disease that causes dysfunction in cells, people without asthma could even be more susceptible to the virus. However, elderly people with asthma who also have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease may have similar cases of COVID-19 as non-asthmatics with these conditions.