Andhra Pradesh

Some drugs increase vulnerability to COVID-19: expert

‘ACE inhibitors should be discontinued for three or four weeks for heart patients’

The heightened vulnerability of diabetics and hypertension patients that use ACE (Angiotensin-converting Enzyme) Inhibitors notwithstanding, persons who had a heart attack or heart surgery recently should protect themselves from COVID-19, said interventional cardiologist P. Ramesh Babu.

Two classes of drugs — ACE inhibitors and angiotension II receptor blockers — are under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. They reportedly increase the number of receptors the virus requires to get into the body. To invade a cell, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or COVID-19 latches onto a protein (receptor) called angiotensin-converting enzyme II, or ACE II. This protein is found on cells in the lungs, allowing the virus to invade these cells and cause respiratory symptoms. But ACE II also is on heart muscle cells and cells that line the blood vessels.

While good alternatives were available, the ACE inhibitors should be discontinued for three or four weeks so that the number of receptors to come down and the vulnerability to coronavirus also comes down, Dr. Ramesh Babu said.

Dr. Ramesh Babu said hydroxychlorquine should not be used as a prophylactic.

‘Break the cycle’

Dr. Ramesh Babu said that people should stay at home to break the cycle as there were several things that were not known about the virus. Though these viruses were not as virulent as SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), they were known to mutate. There were known to mimic the properties of the host cells so that the antibodies do not perceive them as a threat, he said. These primitive life forms demonstrate tremendous intelligence and therefore the best way was to prevent their spread, he said.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:39:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/some-drugs-increase-vulnerability-to-covid-19-expert/article31194852.ece

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