Highlights

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread changes in behavior.

Scientists have unearthed a possible link between the severity of Covid-19 and air quality. 

Regulatory networks confirm air pollution declines from COVID-19.

Air pollution linked to higher Covid-19 mortality

A new analysis of more than 3,000 counties in the US. Has found that people with longterm exposure to fine-particle pollutants may be more likely to die from COVID-19. Findings which may make policymakers reexamine the harms of air pollution and help reduce deaths during the pandemic.

Impact of Long Term Exposure to PM 2.5 Pollutants

The research, published in the journal Science Advances. Investigated the impact of long-term exposure to PM 2.5 pollutants. Tiny particles in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width. On Covid-19 mortality rates in 3089 counties in the US, “covering 98 per cent of the population.”

Covid-19 Mortality Rates

It found that “higher historical exposure” to these particulate pollutants is associated with greater county-level. Covid-19 mortality rates after accounting for several area-level risk factors.

Chronic Exposure to PM 2.5

The study could not provide insights into the mechanism underlying the relationship. The scientists, including those from Harvard University in the US, believe chronic exposure to PM 2.5 may cause over production of the ACE-2 receptor in the lungs.

Which the novel corona virus uses to enter host cells. Pollution also impair people’s immune system. Chronic exposure to PM 2.5 causes alveolar ACE-2 receptor over expression and impairs host defences.

Covid-19 in ACE-2–Depleted Lungs

This could cause a more severe form of COVID-19 in ACE-2–depleted lungs. Increasing the likelihood of poor outcomes, including death,” the scientists wrote in the study.

Citing the limitations of the study. The scientists said they were unable to adjust for individual-level risk factors.

This approach leaves us unable to make conclusions regarding individual-level associations,” the scientists said. The researchers said the analyses provide strong justification for follow-up investigations as more and higher-quality COVID-19 data become available.

Research on how modifiable factors may exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. And increase mortality risk is essential to guide policies and behaviours to minimize fatality related to the pandemic,” they noted in the research.

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Also Read: Air pollution linked with higher COVID-19 death rates