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COVID-19 and Angiotensin Drugs: Help or Harm?


The crux of the controversy is information suggesting that use of ACE inhibitors and ARBs might enhance expression of ACE2, which ends up in the speculation that these medication might enhance affected person susceptibility to the virus. Several commentaries suggesting that ACE inhibitors and ARBs might enhance susceptibility on this means have now appeared.

In one distinguished report revealed as a letter to The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on March 11, Lei Feng, MD, PhD, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues write: “The expression of ACE2 is considerably elevated in sufferers with kind 1 or kind 2 diabetes, who’re handled with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers (ARBs). Hypertension can be handled with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which ends up in an upregulation of ACE2. ACE2 may also be elevated by thiazolidinediones and ibuprofen.

“Consequently, the increased expression of ACE2 would facilitate infection with COVID-19. We therefore hypothesize that diabetes and hypertension treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19,” they conclude.

Writing in a Viewpoint in JAMA revealed online yesterday, Ankit Patel, MD, and Ashish Verma, MBBS, each from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, give more detailed info on ACE2 expression with ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

“There has been considerable evidence in animal models as well as some evidence in humans showing increased expression of ACE2 in the heart, brain, and even in urine after treatment with ARBs; however, there is limited evidence showing changes in serum or pulmonary ACE2 levels,” they write. “More relevant, the significance of ACE2 expression on COVID-19 pathogenesis and mortality is not specifically known.”

But even when ACE inhibitors and ARBs do enhance ACE2 expression, this doesn’t essentially imply they enhance infectivity of the virus, consultants emphasize, and there are additionally ideas that a rise in ACE2 could also be a constructive impact.

In an in depth scientific examine within the journal Nephron published March 23, Luca Perico, PhD, Ariela Benigni, PhD, and Guiseppe Remuzzi, MD, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Centro Anna Maria Astori, Science and Technology Park Kilometro Rosso, Bergamo, Italy, say the reply to the query of whether or not ACE inhibitors and ARBs may predispose sufferers to elevated COVID-19 an infection and more extreme sickness “is not as simple as it seems, at least based on current knowledge.”

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