Science explains link between CVD medications and COVID-19

April 17, 2020
Medicine

WE have read most of the patients infected with coronavirus have cardiovascular diseases -- high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.

The initial assumption is that these chronic diseases weaken the body’s immune system making a person more prone to viruses.

According to a recent scientific analysis, the medication (ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers) for CVD could be putting people at risk for a more severe case of COVID-19.

Obviously, any medication that suppresses your immune system is going to put you at a higher risk, and those medications are incredibly common among people with autoimmune disorders.

According to a scientific analysis made by James Diaz, Professor and Head of Environmental Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers are medications that are commonly taken by people with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. In fact, many people (mostly older adults) take them every day.

His new scientific paper shows that these medications may contribute to the severe lung complications that arise in some people with COVID-19.

According to Diaz, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) binds to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in the lower respiratory tract to get into the lungs.

Previous research also showed that people who receive intravenous infusions of ACE inhibitors develop more ACE2 receptors. People treated with angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) also develop increased numbers of ACE2 receptors in their lungs. Diaz theorizes that the virus gain easy entry points with these medications and may be making people incredibly vulnerable to the virus.

A separate study in China also collaborate with Diaz’s theory.

The study found that people with hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and chronic renal disease — all conditions that would be treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers — had more severe cases of COVID-19.

However, Diaz clarified that his paper does not suggest people with CVD conditions stop taking the medicine. He said there still needs to be controlled studies in people with COVID-19 infections who confirm that they’re taking ACEIs or ARBs.

The best thing to do is to help your body increase its immune system by eating the right food, observe balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.