COVID-19 Susceptibility in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
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In barely nine months, the pandemic known as COVID-19 has spread over 200 countries, affecting more than 22 million people and causing over than 786 000 deaths. Elderly people and patients with previous comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes are at an increased risk to suffer a poor prognosis after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Although the same could be expected from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), current epidemiological data are conflicting. This could lead to a reduction of precautionary measures in these patients, in the context of a particularly complex global health crisis. Most COPD patients have a long history of smoking or exposure to other harmful particles or gases, capable of impairing pulmonary defences even years after the absence of exposure. Moreover, COPD is characterized by an ongoing immune dysfunction, which affects both pulmonary and systemic cellular and molecular inflammatory mediators. Consequently, increased susceptibility to viral respiratory infections have been reported in COPD, often worsened by bacterial co-infections and leading to serious clinical outcomes. The present paper is an up-to-date review that discusses the available research regarding the implications of coronavirus infection in COPD. Although validation in large studies is still needed, COPD likely increases SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and increases COVID-19 severity. Hence, specific mechanisms to monitor and assess COPD patients should be addressed in the current pandemic. © 2020 Stichting European Society for Clinical Investigation Journal Foundation Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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