We all know those with preexisting cardiovascular and respiratory conditions have a greater risk of contracting Covid-19… but not, it seems, for those with asthma. What’s more, scientists are perplexed as to what causes this difference!
Researchers from Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science published their findings in a recent editorial in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. They found that several factors may aid in keeping asthma sufferers safe from a severe attack of Covid-19.
According to a news release on Monday from RUTGERS UNIVERSITY:
“Older age and conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity are reported risk factors for the development and progression of COVID-19,” said Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., a pulmonary critical care physician and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science and co-author of a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. “However, people with asthma — even those with diminished lung function who are being treated to manage asthmatic inflammation — seem to be no worse affected by SARS-CoV-2 than a non-asthmatic person. There is limited data as to why this is the case — if it is physiological or a result of the treatment to manage the inflammation.”
One theory is that people with asthma tend to be younger than those with other conditions like heart disease, COPD, or obesity. It could be that merely being younger is why asthmatics are not at greater risk for severe COVID-19 infection. Researchers haven’t investigated this possibility thoroughly, so more age-adjusted studies will need to be done to determine a conclusive explanation.
Another theory is that asthma medications may protect against COVID-19.
Regularly prescribed medications such as inhaled corticosteroids for the prevention and treatment of asthma attacks could be protecting asthmatics from severe COVID-19 infection even though previous studies have shown that corticosteroids can reduce the body’s immune response and enhance its inflammatory response. That being said, more studies are needed to determine if there is a link between asthma medications and COVID-19 infection.
Still, another theory is that because of the rules of lock-downs and quarantines and social distancing, asthmatics have improved their overall health by not being exposed to seasonal allergies, respiratory viruses, and generalized triggers. Staying away from possible triggers and hazards coupled with taking their medications with more diligence and without interruption could play a significant part in keeping them safe.
Whatever the reason, it’s good news for asthmatics! Finally, a reason they can breathe easy.