People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as smokers, have a higher risk of contracting coronavirus, a number of reports from China confirm this. This opinion was expressed in an interview with News-Medical by the medical professor of the Canadian University of British Columbia Don Sin.
According to him, the reason is that coronavirus enters the body primarily through the protein angiotensin-converting enzyme ACE-2, and in the above categories of this protein in the nasopharynx and bronchi, for some reason, more than other people, so the virus is easier “catch” and begin self-production, gradually falling into the lungs and causing pneumonia.
Why in patients with COPD and smokers there is an increased content of ACE 2 protein in the respiratory tract is still unclear. At the same time, according to Don Sin, if a person quits smoking, the amount of ACE-2 in the nasopharynx and bronchi decreases, which reduces the risk of coronavirus infection.
Currently, the professor notes, studies are underway of various drugs designed to reduce the amount of ACE-2 protein in the human respiratory tract.