A new study, published in the scientific journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, compares the prevalence of asthma among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.
After reviewing data from 15 peer-reviewed studies and taking into account the prevalence of asthma in the relevant population, the scientists had an intention to understand whether asthma is a risk factor for contracting the COVID-19, Contagionlive.com reported.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found that the proportion of asthmatics among hospitalized COVID-19 patients is similar to the prevalence of asthma in the population. This finding is in stark contrast to influenza, in which asthmatics account for more than 20% of hospital admissions in the US.
This means that people with asthma are no more likely to end up in the hospital with complicated COVID-19 than people without asthma. This may be due to the distribution of ACE2 receptors in the epithelium of the respiratory system. ACE2 is the receptor that the COVID-19 attaches to. It is believed that in people with diabetes and hypertension, ACE2 expression is increased, making them more susceptible to the virus.
According to the researchers, it is possible that taking corticosteroids for asthma lowers the expression of ACE2, which makes these patients less susceptible to COVID-19. Besides, ACE2 expression is decreased in people with predominantly allergic asthma regardless of the medication they receive.
The study authors warn that more research is needed to understand how dangerous COVID-19 is for people with asthma. However, do not forget that even if asthmatics are not considered a risk group, they can still develop severe COVID-19.