A team of editors of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JSEM) suggests that people taking a certain class of steroid hormones may be more likely to get COVID-19 and have more severe symptoms, in case they got the infection.
The steroids called glucocorticoids are widely prescribed to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, but they suppress the immune system of the body. This means that regular intake of glucocorticoids may lead to higher chances to get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Clinicians should be aware that anyone who has the symptoms of COVID-19 and has previously been taking glucocorticoids in any form for more than 3 months should be considered for parenteral glucocorticoid therapy if there is a need to reverse adrenal failure, according to the editors of JSEM.
The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses, performed by Scripps Research Institute from the US, showed that there was no evidence that the virus was engineered in a laboratory.
The study says that the Chinese coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan last year is the product of natural evolution. The findings of the research were published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The researchers found that the RBD (receptor-binding domain) portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins had evolved to effectively target a molecular feature on the outside of human cells ACE2, a receptor involved in regulating blood pressure.
The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was so effective at binding the human cells that the scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not the product of genetic engineering.
Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper, says: “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes.”
Although the data are still limited, there is no confirmed information from official sources that pregnant women may be at higher risk of developing severe symptoms from coronavirus (COVID-19) compared to the general population, unlike with the flu. This means that pregnant women do not belong to the category of people with higher risk.
According to officials at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), even if a pregnant woman catches the virus, there’s no evidence it can be passed on to the baby.
Edward Morris, president of the RCOG says: “As this is a very new virus we are just beginning to learn about it, so the guidance will be kept under regular review as new evidence emerges.”
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