OREANDA-NEWS. The results of a large international study showed that patients with pre-existing lung diseases are most susceptible to severe complications from COVID-19. The article was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers from ten countries, using single-cell RNA sequencing technology, analyzed the genetic code of 611,398 cells from various databases representing lung cells from both healthy people and those suffering from chronic diseases. It turned out that the cells of the respiratory tract of patients with chronic lung disease are better "prepared" for infection with the coronavirus, which leads to more severe symptoms of COVID-19 and a greater likelihood of death.

The study details genetic changes in the molecular composition of various cells, including epithelial cells lining the lungs and airways, caused by chronic lung disease. According to the authors, these changes help the SARS-CoV-2 virus more easily enter cells, multiply and induce an uncontrolled immune response, as a result of which the lungs are filled with fluid, and patients need to be connected to ventilators and long hospitalizations.

"Our results indicate that patients with chronic lung disease are molecularly predisposed to be more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection," said study leader Dr. Nicholas Banovich, associate professor of Integrated Cancer Genomics at the US Research and Development University in a press release. Research Institute for Translational Genomics (TGen).

The authors include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial pulmonary disease (IDL), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), progressive scarring and hardening of lung tissue, and additional risk factors include old age, male sex, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.