Asthma drug brings hope for COVID-19 treatment

A steroid commonly used in asthma inhalers has the potential to prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms. It could treat the illness early on and help to reduce pressure on hospitals.

  • Author Louisa Wright, Madelaine Pitt Date 13.04.2021

A common asthma medication that can be used at home might be an effective treatment for early COVID-19 in adults, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal.

University of Oxford researchers found that patients who took the drug budesonide when their first COVID-19 symptoms started were less likely to need urgent medical care or hospitalization, and had a shorter recovery time. It also reduced the chance of persistent symptoms and fever.

The randomized controlled trial involved 146 adults within seven days of the onset of mild COVID-19 symptoms. Half of the participants inhaled budesonide twice a day until their symptoms resolved, and the other half received the usual care given based on age, gender and existing illnesses.

In the budesonide group, only one person needed urgent medical care, compared to 10 people in the group who received the standard care for COVID-19.

Another University of Oxford study that has yet to be peer reviewed also found that inhaled budesonide helped people who were at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes recover quicker.

“There’s good biological plausibility” for why corticosteroids would work, Chloe Bloom, a senior clinical research fellow at Imperial College London’s National Heart and Lung Institute, told DW. Bloom was not involved in the study.

Corticosteroids like dexamethasone are already being used effectively in hospitalized, severely ill COVID-19 patients. Bloom said researchers think it likely reduces the inflammation associated with severe COVID-19. Budesonide probably works in a similar way, but may be more localized.

Studies have also shown that the use of inhaled steroids in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduced the receptor that allows Sars-CoV-2 into the lungs, said Bloom, and lab work has shown that inhaled steroids can possibly prevent virus replication.

For More Information: https://www.dw.com/en/asthma-drug-brings-hope-for-covid-19-treatment/a-57174301

Asthmatics at no higher risk getting or dying from COVID-19, assessment of studies consisting of 587,000 people shows

Authors: February 19, 2021Source:Taylor & Francis Group

Summary:

A review of 57 studies shows people with asthma had a 14 percent lower risk of getting COVID-19 and were significantly less likely to be hospitalized with the virus.

A new study looking at how COVID-19 affects people with asthma provides reassurance that having the condition doesn’t increase the risk of severe illness or death from the virus.

George Institute for Global Health researchers in Australia analysed data from 57 studies with an overall sample size of 587,280. Almost 350,000 people in the pool had been infected with COVID-19 from Asia, Europe, and North and South America and found they had similar proportions of asthma to the general population.

The results, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Asthma, show that just over seven in every 100 people who tested positive for COVID-19 also had asthma, compared to just over eight in 100 in the general population having the condition. They also showed that people with asthma had a 14 percent lower risk of acquiring COVID-19 and were significantly less likely to be hospitalized with the virus.

There was no apparent difference in the risk of death from COVID-19 in people with asthma compared to those without.

Head of The Institute’s Respiratory Program, co-author Professor Christine Jenkins said that while the reasons for these findings weren’t clear, there were some possible explanations — such as some inhalers perhaps limiting the virus’ ability to attach to the lungs.

“Chemical receptors in the lungs that the virus binds to are less active in people with a particular type of asthma and some studies suggest that inhaled corticosteroids — commonly used to treat asthma — can reduce their activity even further,” she said.

“Also, initial uncertainty about the impact of asthma on COVID-19 may have caused anxiety among patients and caregivers leading them to be more vigilant about preventing infection.”

Lead author Dr Anthony Sunjaya added that while this study provides some reassurance about the risks of exposure to COVID-19 in people with asthma, doctors and researchers were still learning about the effects of the virus.

“While we showed that people with asthma do not seem to have a higher risk of infection with COVID-19 compared to those without asthma and have similar outcomes, we need further research to better understand how the virus affects those with asthma,” he said.

For More Information: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210219091850.htm

COVID-19 related concerns of people with long-term respiratory conditions: a qualitative study

Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound psychological impacts on populations globally, with increasing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression being reported, especially in people with pre-existing medical conditions who appear to be particularly vulnerable. There are limited data on the specific concerns people have about COVID-19 and what these are based on.

Methods

The aim of this study was to identify and explore the concerns of people with long-term respiratory conditions in the UK regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how these concerns were affecting them. We conducted a thematic analysis of free text responses to the question “What are your main concerns about getting coronavirus?”, which was included in the British Lung Foundation/Asthma UK (BLF-AUK) partnership COVID-19 survey, conducted between the 1st and 8th of April 2020. This was during the 3rd week of the UK’s initial ‘social distancing measures’ which included advice to stay at home and only go outside for specific limited reasons.

Results

7039 responses were analyzed, with respondents from a wide range of age groups (under 17 to over 80), gender, and all UK nations. Respondents reported having asthma (85%), COPD (9%), bronchiectasis (4%), interstitial lung disease (2%), or ‘other’ lung diseases (e.g. lung cancer) (1%). Four main themes were identified: (1) vulnerability to COVID-19; (2) anticipated experience of contracting COVID-19; (3) pervasive uncertainty; and (4) inadequate national response.

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound psychological impacts. The concerns we identified largely reflect contextual factors, as well as their subjective experience of the current situation. Hence, key approaches to reducing these concerns require changes to the reality of their situation, and are likely to include (1) helping people optimize their health, limit risk of infection, and access necessities; (2) minimizing the negative experience of disease where possible, (3) providing up-to-date, accurate and consistent information, (4) improving the government and healthcare response.

For More Information: https://bmcpulmmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12890-020-01363-9