JUL 07, 2020 2:23 PM PDT

No Evidence Showing Asthma Increases Severity of COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Scientists have been scrambling to learn as much as possible about the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. New discoveries concerning the virus are made every day, but one aspect of the disease that seems to be repeatedly reported is that individuals with chronic conditions are more likely to suffer more serious or even lethal forms of the disease. According to a new Rutgers University study, individuals may not have increased risk of severe COVID-19 after exposure to coronavirus, although asthma has long been considered a chronic respiratory condition.

Rather, explained study co-author Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., "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.”

Despite the face that some individuals with asthma also experience “diminished lung function” to the point where they require treatment to alleviate the inflammation, research still does not indicate that asthma is a factor for increased severity of COVID-19.

 “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,” Panettiere concluded. As researchers continue to understand more about the relationship between asthma and COVID-19 severity, there are several factors to consider.

For instance, the lack of an increased risk connection between asthma and COVID-19 may not have a physiological explanation. Individuals with asthma may be “hyper-vigilant” about protecting themselves from coronavirus exposure with social distancing, mask-wearing, and other public health measures. Additionally, social behaviors associated with the coronavirus pandemic, such as staying home to avoid exposure, may also be preventing exposure to environmental allergens or other respiratory viruses, which may make asthma worse for some individuals. Additionally, during the pandemic individuals with asthma may be more diligent about adhering to their regular asthma therapeutic regimens.

Treatments for asthma may also play a role. Many individuals with asthma use inhaled corticosteroids to manage their condition, and such treatments could prevent or reduce the ability of coronavirus to launch an infection in the human body upon exposure. Studies also show, though, that the same steroids are associated with reduced immune responses and suboptimal inflammation. Studies also show that steroids may delay clearing of other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS. Future research may more clearly delineate the relationship between inhaled steroid asthma treatments and the affected risk of coronavirus infection.

Lastly, individuals with asthma tend to be younger, and COVID-19 severity increases with age. Experts estimate that more than six million children (18 and younger) are living with asthma. Older people with asthma suffer from a more severe form of the condition known as “eosinophilic asthma” as opposed to younger people who are more likely to have asthma associated with less severe allergic inflammation.

Sources: Rutgers University, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

About the Author
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
FEB 17, 2022
Immunology
A Post-vaccination Workout Boosts Immune Responses
FEB 17, 2022
A Post-vaccination Workout Boosts Immune Responses
  A workout after getting a vaccine for influenza or COVID-19 may provide additional immune protection, says a new ...
APR 14, 2022
Neuroscience
Half of Young Adults Struggled with Mental Health in 2021
APR 14, 2022
Half of Young Adults Struggled with Mental Health in 2021
Almost half of young adults in the US had mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, and more than a t ...
APR 21, 2022
Coronavirus
COVID-19 Increases Risk for Blood Clots and Bleeding Months after Infection
APR 21, 2022
COVID-19 Increases Risk for Blood Clots and Bleeding Months after Infection
A nationwide study recently reported that COVID-19 infection increases risk for a constellation of blood clot-related ev ...
SEP 02, 2022
Coronavirus
Omicron-Specific Booster Shots Will be Available Soon
SEP 02, 2022
Omicron-Specific Booster Shots Will be Available Soon
Soon, vaccine booster shots that are specific to the Omicron variant will be available in many countries. The new Omicro ...
NOV 16, 2022
Coronavirus
Divergent SARS-CoV-2 Variant Reveals Evidence of Deer-to-Human Transmission
NOV 16, 2022
Divergent SARS-CoV-2 Variant Reveals Evidence of Deer-to-Human Transmission
After only a few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers had identified the virus that causes the disease, SARS-CoV ...
NOV 26, 2022
Coronavirus
Departing Chief Scientist of WHO Has Some Regrets
NOV 26, 2022
Departing Chief Scientist of WHO Has Some Regrets
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan acknowledged that not calling SARS-CoV-2 airborne "forcefully" earlier in the pandemic was a mist ...
Loading Comments...