Some steroid meds may raise coronavirus risk

accreditation

People taking a certain class of steroids for inflammatory conditions such as asthma, allergies and arthritis may be at increased risk from the new coronavirus, experts say.

Glucocorticoid medications suppress the immune system, so people taking them may not be able to fight off the coronavirus, according to an editorial published online on 31 March in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

These people may also have more severe illness if they're infected by the new coronavirus because glucocorticoids suppress the body's own steroid response to infection, the authors said.

People with primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) and secondary adrenal insufficiency occurring in hypopituitarism should also take extra precautions, said the authors, journal Editor-in-Chief Dr Paul Stewart, from the University of Leeds, England, and deputy editors Dr Ursula Kaiser, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and Dr Raghavendra Mirmira, from the University of Chicago.

Diabetics at increased risk 

If patients develop symptoms such as a dry continuous cough and fever, they should double their oral glucocorticoid dose immediately and continue doing so until the fever has subsided, the authors said. They'll require injectable glucocorticoid treatment if their condition worsens, according to their editorial examining the coronavirus pandemic's impact on endocrine patients.

People with diabetes who contract Covid-19 also appear to be at risk of more severe illness than those without diabetes, the authors wrote.

Research from Wuhan, China, found Covid-19 patients with diabetes and high blood pressure were at increased risk for severe illness and death.

"In our professional lives, we have not witnessed a health care crisis of this magnitude and severity," Stewart and colleagues wrote.

They noted that researchers have made progress in learning how the new coronavirus enters cells and spreads from one person to another, and some have made preliminary findings on how the coronavirus interacts with the endocrine system.

"Endocrine-related targets are at the forefront of discovery science as we collectively tackle this pandemic," the authors wrote in a journal news release.

READ | Obesity ups odds for severe Covid-19 in younger patients

READ | Covid-19 can trigger serious heart injuries

READ | Certain health conditions increase risks for severe coronavirus cases

Image credit: iStock
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 809 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 9260 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1086 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.01
-1.3%
Rand - Pound
20.11
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.64
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.0%
Gold
1,713.07
-0.2%
Silver
20.66
+0.1%
Palladium
2,253.50
-0.2%
Platinum
925.00
+0.3%
Brent Crude
93.37
+1.7%
Top 40
59,416
+0.4%
All Share
65,833
+0.3%
Resource 10
63,279
-0.6%
Industrial 25
80,027
+1.0%
Financial 15
13,997
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE