Joining the growing list of studies that are trying to pinpoint reasons why novel coronavirus is killing more senior adults globally, researchers from Louisiana State University in the US have proposed a novel explanation which is related to the daily medications for cardiovascular diseases taken by most of the elderly.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, SARS - CoV virus which caused the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003 and the new SARS - CoV - 2 which causes COVID - 19 pandemic, bind to "angiotensin - converting enzyme 2" (ACE2) receptors in the lower respiratory tracts of infected patients to gain entry into the lungs.
Angiotensin - converting - enzyme inhibitors are drugs used primarily for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure.
They work by causing relaxation of blood vessels as well as a decrease in blood volume, which leads to lower blood pressure and decreased oxygen demand from the heart.
"Angiotensin - converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are highly recommended medications for patients with cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease to name a few, " said study researcher James Diaz from Louisiana State University.
According to the researchers, viral pneumonia and potentially fatal respiratory failure may result in susceptible persons after 10 - 14 days.
"Many of those who develop these diseases are older adults.