The harmful effects on our health derived from continued exposure to air pollution have been widely documented through growing scientific evidence . Several studies have related in recent months the risk that contamination poses in case of SARS-CoV-2 infection . In this sense, we focus on a recent research carried out by the Environmental Research Group of the London School of Public Health.
Does it increase the pollution of the air the possibility of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or worsens the prognosis ? This has been the starting point of the review of studies carried out together with the Toxicology Unit of the University of Cambridge. The main conclusion found shows that continued exposure to air pollution increases the risk of hospitalization in infected people , according to a small but reliable group of studies.
The authors of this review explain that this may be due to the already demonstrated link between air pollution and lung and heart diseases , on which scientific evidence has determined that they are risk factors in case of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Regarding continuous exposure to contamination and its possible relationship with an increased risk of coronavirus disease , the results are, for the moment, inconsistent.
There is evidence that long-term exposure to air pollution may increase the chances of infection. A conclusion that stems from some studies that have found that contaminants increase the amounts of the protein that allows SARS-CoV-2 to adhere to lung cells in animal models. The studies carried out in this regard with human beings are of poor quality and inconclusive as reported by Imperial College London.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, many studies on air pollution and COVID-19 were of poor quality as more time was needed. Our report reviews all studies on air pollution and COVID-19, finding a small group of quality studies that show a link between long-term exposure to air pollution and hospital admissions for COVID-19, «he explains Dr. Heather Walton , lead author. «This is plausible since we know that air pollution contributes to making people with lung and heart disease more vulnerable to hospital admission in the event of COVID-19.»
“It is not clear whether air pollution increases the chances that people will be infected with coronavirus. Studies with a human sample are of poor quality. Early studies suggest that particulate air pollution could ‘carry’ the virus over longer distances have not been confirmed by subsequent research. However, animal studies have shown an increase in the protein that the virus uses to adhere to lung cells , which provides a possible mechanism to increase viral infection, so we need more research, «he says.
“Research, in any area, accumulates over time, and since SARS-CoV-2 is new and not fully understood, we will have to continue to evaluate new studies on air pollution and COVID-19 as we are published and understanding continues to increase ”, he concludes.