Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Why are people with allergic asthma less susceptible to severe COVID?


I have allergic asthma.  I probably had Covid in the early part of 2020.  I was sick, but not terribly.  I've felt a lot worse in some flu infections.  I got a flat tire on the way to be tested, and never go tested, so I can't say for sure that I had Covid, but I had symptoms of long Covid for more than a year, until I got vaccinated.  I also got sick when the Delta and Omicron strains were prevalent, but less severe each time.  Whatever I had around Christmas, when a lot of people I knew were getting sick and Omicron was prevalent, was like a mild cold.  But having had severe breathing problems from the asthma, I know how horrible it is to have a hard time breathing, so I have had the booster, and I plan to get the second one at an appropriate time.


 News Release 30-Mar-2022
Scientists show how cells packed with SARS-CoV-2 detach from the upper airway and spread deep into lungs where severe COVID can take root. They also discovered how an asthmatic reaction to allergens battles the virus to hold severe COVID at bay.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of North Carolina Health Care


The vast majority of people infected with the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 experience mild cold-like symptoms, moderate flu-like symptoms, or no symptoms at all, but the virus is so transmissible that it still spread deep into lung tissue to cause severe disease and death in thousands of people in the United States in 2022 alone. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill revealed biological reasons for how disease progression happens and why a certain population of asthma patients are less susceptible to severe COVID.

This research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, illustrates the importance of a well-known cytokine called interleukin-13 (IL-13) in protecting cells against SARS-CoV-2, which helps explain the mystery of why people with allergic asthma fair better than the general population despite having a chronic lung condition. The same cannot be said for individuals with other diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema, who are at very high risk of severe COVID.


 Although cytokines like IL-13 cannot be used as therapies because they trigger inflammation, it is important to understand natural molecular pathways that cells use to protect themselves from pathogen invasion, as these studies have the potential to reveal new therapeutic targets.


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