I usually cover new research in mental health and substance use disorder, as many of my colleagues work at the best drug rehabilitation center in Florida, Florida Springs in Panama City, Fl. However, Covid-19, and the Sars-Cov-2 Virus that causes it, has had an unprecedented effect on all walks of life, maybe other parts of the health care infrastructure most of all. The covid-19 disease is deadly because of a mechanism of action that causes a cytokine storm. Cytokine storms are like actual storms inside the bodies’ immune response, and they can quickly cause otherwise healthy people to need ventilators and other lifesaving measures. During the flu pandemic that followed soldiers’ home from World War II, it was these cytokine storms that killed so many healthy younger people, whose immune systems did not effectively fight that specific flu. During this coronavirus pandemic, it has been mostly older patients who have been hit with these debilitating cytokine storms.
One of my nieces has had auto-immune problems, just as many people had, and when we were talking about Covid-19 and whether kids should go to school, I said to my niece’s father that his daughter would likely be okay because we weren’t seeing these dangerous cytokine storms that kill young people. That was a misreading of the early Covid-19 research. In this newly released research, a group of doctors shows some new ways that cytokine storms are harming people with Covid-19. Luckily for our nation’s young people, it has not been like the 1918 flu pandemic, but the dangers remain and are more serious than ever for many people, especially older Americans.
From the background of this new study on the pulmonary effects of Covid-19, “The major clinical feature of severe COVID-19 requiring ventilation is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with multi-functional failure as a result of a cytokine storm with increased serum levels of cytokines. The pathogenesis of the respiratory failure in COVID-19 is yet unknown, but diffuse alveolar damage with interstitial thickening leading to compromised gas exchange is a plausible mechanism. Hypoxia is seen in the COVID-19 patients, however, patients present with a distinct phenotype. Intracellular levels of nitric oxide (NO) play an important role in the vasodilation of small vessels. To elucidate the intracellular levels of NO inside of RBCs in COVID-19 patients compared with that of healthy control subjects.”
To put that in easier to understand terms, the alveolar damage it is talking about is the alveoli in the lungs, those are little tiny air sacs that Respiratory viruses like Sars-Cov-2 attack. Compromised gas exchange is the damaging of levels of gasses in the blood, which can be caused by both difficulty breathing, but also by less obvious effects from the viruses’ attacks on the pulmonary system. Many people say that President Trump went to the hospital when the levels of oxygen in his blood dropped, which is called hypoxia. These scientists are hypothesizing that dangerous increases in Nitrous Oxide, which do many things in red blood cells normally including keeping blood pressure stable, are also worsening hypoxia and worsening outcomes in Covid-19 patients.
From the conclusions of the study, “This pilot study demonstrates increased levels of intracellular NO in RBCs from COVID-19 patients. Future multi-center studies should examine whether this is seen in a larger number of COVID-19 patients and whether NO therapy may be of use in these severe COVID-19 patients.” The study was called “Silent Hypoxia”, and it was published this month in BMC Pulmonary Medicine Journal. I felt that this study would give people some level of better understanding of the underlying issues faced by Covid-19 patients, including the President very recently, and what kinds of things scientists are looking at to true and combat the virus. This is different from my usual article, but as always, if you or a loved one is in need of substance abuse treatment, the wide range of programs offered by the best drug rehab in Florida are available at the Programs tab on this page.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)
MORTAZ, E. et al. Silent hypoxia: higher NO in red blood cells of COVID-19 patients. BMC pulmonary medicine, [s. l.], v. 20, n. 1, p. 269, 2020. DOI 10.1186/s12890-020-01310-8. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=33066765&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 23 out. 2020.