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TUESDAY, Aug.31, 2021 (HealthDay News) – A high amount of coronavirus in the lungs is a major killer of COVID-19 patients, new research shows.

The findings challenge previous theories that concurrent infections such as pneumonia or an overreaction of the body’s immune system are important factors in deaths from COVID-19, the researchers noted.

To reach this conclusion, investigators analyzed bacterial and fungal samples from the lungs of 589 hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were critically ill and required mechanical ventilation.

On average, patients who died had 10 times more virus in their lower respiratory tract than those who survived their disease.

“Our results suggest that the body’s inability to cope with the large number of viruses infecting the lungs is largely responsible for deaths from COVID-19 during the pandemic,” said lead author of the study, the Dr Imran Sulaiman, Assistant Professor in the Department of NYU Langone Health. Medication.

There was no evidence of secondary bacterial infection as the cause of death, but it may be because patients were given large amounts of antibiotics, study authors published online Aug.31 said. in the newspaper. Natural microbiology.

Guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not encourage giving antivirals such as remdesivir to critically ill COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation, but these results suggest that these drugs may actually benefit these patients. Sulaiman said in a press release from NYU Langone.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Leopoldo Segal, associate professor in the NYU Langone Department of Medicine, “These findings suggest that a problem with the adaptive immune system is preventing it from effectively fighting the coronavirus. can identify the source of this problem, we may be able to find an effective treatment that strengthens the body’s own defenses. ”

Segal noted that the study only included patients who survived their first two weeks of hospitalization, so it is possible that bacterial infections or autoimmune reactions play a larger role in deaths from COVID- 19 that occur earlier.

The next step for the research team is to study how the microbial community and immune response in the lungs of patients with COVID-19 change over time, Segal said.

The death rate for U.S. COVID-19 patients who need to be put on mechanical ventilators is around 70%.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 treatment.

SOURCE: NYU Langone Health, press release, August 31, 2021