GW Physicians Research Effects of COVID-19 on Patients with Asthma
Patients who suffer from severe asthma may be at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19. Jamie Rosenthal, MD, asthma and allergy specialist and assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Heath Sciences, is conducting a new study to better understand the risk these patients face and how to best help them.
“Before we started this research, we could only consider that patients with asthma are at higher risk of developing complications from other respiratory viruses, like the flu. But we didn’t know if that would be the case with COVID-19. We need more information on this new virus to be able to better counsel our patients about their risks,” she said.
Rosenthal, along with her colleagues, are collecting a wide range of information on hundreds of patients at GW Hospital, both patients with asthma who contracted COVID-19, and patients without asthma who got the virus.
That data includes what type of asthma they had, whether it’s allergic or non-allergic, as well as what asthma medications they’re on and their health outcomes.
“We’re also collecting lab information and inflammatory markers to see how that may be playing a role,” she said.
She added that with recent preliminary reports, steroids could help with COVID-19 treatment; they want to see if people with asthma on inhaled steroids may have protective benefits.
Rosenthal said people with asthma should continue to take their regularly prescribed medications to best control the condition so that if they do contract COVID-19, they will be in the best position to fight off the virus.
“This is definitely a scary time, but it’s important to be to be able to contribute to the field and make a difference, especially for the patients we see on a day-to-day basis, and change the course of their trajectory,” she said.