Valsartan May Increase Risk of COVID-19 Complications: Study
Researchers at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland and the University of Thessaloniki in Greece recently looked at the risk of coronavirus complications in patients who took angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
They theorized that the drugs may change receptors found on upper respiratory cells in a way that makes them easier for the coronavirus to infect. These cellular changes cause the medications to facilitate infection with COVID-19, according to the study.
“We therefore hypothesize that diabetes and hypertension [high blood pressure] treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19,” the researchers concluded.
The study, “Anti-Hypertensive Drugs and Risk of COVID-19”, was published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on March 26, 2020.
Coronavirus Risk Factors
- Taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Being 65 or older
- Patients in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
- People living with chronic health conditions (lung disease, asthma, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease)
- People with reduced immune systems from medication / cancer treatment
- Pregnant women
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