Pulmonary Fibrosis and COVID-19 Risk

June 12, 2020

What risks of severity do patients face with viral infection?

Recent guidance from a Canadian team of respiratory experts showed there has not yet been observed risk of worsened or hospitalized cases of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) among patients with asthma.

Though some may take it as relief to a very early concern that the virus may discriminately attack patients with respiratory disease, others have pointed out that no COVID-19 data is yet absolute.

In the final part of an interview with HCPLive, Greg Cosgrove, MD, chief medical officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, discussed what’s currently known about associated risks of COVID-19 infection and severity among patients with the rare respiratory disease.

“We don’t understand if there’s an intrinsic risk of acquiring the virus, or if it accelerates, or if they have a worse outcome,” he explained. “Those data are not just available yet.”

Of course, the obvious concern lies in how in a respiratory viral infection could affect a patient suffering from a chronic respiratory disease. Cosgrove explained this patient population’s tolerability for worsened respiratory state, or ability to recover from such an infection, may be a significant concern.

Additionally, there’s reasonable concern that affected patients could eventually face a greater risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis. Not enough is known yet.

“We’re cautious to make any predictions,” Cosgrove said. “But certainly we want individuals to be appropriate and cautious, as we all should be in this time frame, to limit exposure to possible infection."