Who are at the maximumm risk of getting infected by the Coronavirus? Many people have been asking this question since the pandemic began, and now after several months the World Health Organization (WHO) which is monitoring the global health crisis for months, said that they know the answer.
The UN health agency said in a statement on its Twitter handle on Thursday, September 24 that people with pre-existing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) appear to be most vulnerable to become severely sick with the SARS-CoV-2.
The statement also included some of the Non-Communicable Diseases, such as:
Coronavirus and NCDs
As per the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the novel Coronavirus pandemic has shown the importance of focusing on the NCDs. He also said that people with such diseases are at extreme risk.
"The risk has been compounded by disruptions to essential services including diagnosis and treatment of cancer and diabetes and other non-communicable diseases," said the WHO head and added that all the countries still have much more to do in terms of preventing the NCDs.
He also noted that to control and prevent these health issues, people need to stop the use of tobacco and reduce the use of alcohol. As per Ghebreyesus, reduction of salt and sugar amount, regular physical activity, elimination of industrial trans-fat, and maintaining a normal blood pressure will help to fight these NCDs which can increase the severity of the Coronavirus.
Flawed Interferon Response
Apart from the NCDs, recent studies have revealed that a significant minority of Coronavirus infected people get extremely sick due to impaired interferon response. Interferons are the proteins that are extracted from the cells if pathogens are detected either outside or inside the cell.
While addressing two research papers published in Science this week—confirming that body's virus fighter, a molecular messenger called type I interferon, was missing in some severe COVID-19 cases—Qiang Pan-Hammarström, an immunologist at the Karolinska Institute said together these recent studies have explained "nearly 14 percent of severe COVID-19 cases. That is quite amazing."
Isabelle Meyts, a pediatric immunologist at the University Hospitals Leuven said, "There has never been any infectious disease explained at this level by a factor in the human body. And it's not an isolated cohort of Europeans. Patients are from all over the world, all ethnicities."
Even, an interferon scientist, Tadatsugu Taniguchi, who is an emeritus professor at the University of Tokyo said these studies have highlighted the major role of type I interferons in the Coronavirus infection and the development of potentially deadly SARS-CoV-2 caused disease, COVID-19.