Patients suffering from a lung disease that blocks airways are almost 25 times more likely to develop severe COVID-19, Sydney scientists have found.
Around 400 million people worldwide suffering from a specific lung disease are nearly 25 times more likely to develop acute COVID-19, a new study by Sydney scientists has found.
Researchers from the Centenary Institute and the University of Technology Sydney have published the first study showing why people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.
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The researchers found that the COPD airway cells had may times greater infection with SARS-CoV-2 than healthy cells.
“We examined the genetic information of infected cells through advanced single cell RNA-sequencing analysis,” said the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation’s Dr Matt Johansen.
He explained there was a 24-fold increase of viral load in the COPD patient’s airway cells compared to the cells taken from healthy individuals a week after their COVID-19 infection.
The findings, released in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, could help COPD patients in the long run who suffer from breathing difficulties due to airway blockages.
“It’s highly likely that SARS-CoV-2 exacerbates this existing high inflammation level which leads to even poorer outcomes,” he said.
Professor Phil Hansbro, the study’s senior author and director of the centre, warned the virus in its many mutations and variants will likely be around for many years to come.
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