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In this study, the authors determined the relationship between respiratory viral infections, expression of ACE2, and the activation of cytokine pathways. They present data suggesting that respiratory viral infections associated with asthma exacerbations have synergistic interactions with the cytokine activation pathways affected by SARS-CoV-2.
These findings have potential significant clinical implications, and suggest that common respiratory viral infections may prime individuals, particularly those with asthma, for severer disease from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
– Morgan Soffler, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
SARS-Co-V2 (CV2) is a novel virus first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China as causing COVID-19, with over 7.5 million cases currently reported worldwide (1). Angiotensinconverting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor for CV2 and has recently been identified as an interferon stimulated gene (2). Rhinovirus (RV) infections are potent inducers of interferon stimulated genes and subsequent cytokine production. RV infections are the most frequent virus identified in the common cold, and are responsible for the majority of asthma exacerbations in children and adults (3).Young asthmatics have higher rates of COVID-19, accounting for 27% of hospitalized patients in the United States in the 18-49 yo age group (4). We hypothesized that RV infections could increase expression of ACE2 and subsequently activate cytokine pathways associated with severe COVID-19 infections.