WFY Today

Exclusive: Look Indians Are Most Affected by Long-term Lung Damage

A study published by Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore found that Indians had more lung function damage than people in Europe and China.

While some of these people may recover gradually over a year, others may have to live with lung impairment for the rest of their lives, according to the study. The study, touted as India’s largest to investigate the coronavirus’ impact on lung function, included 207 participants.

It was recently published in the journal PLOS Global Public Health and took place during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, with the first case detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Later, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a pandemic in March 2020.

The study included 207 participants who underwent tests such as minute walks, quality of life assessments, lung function, and blood tests two months after recovery from the disease. All experienced mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The most sensitive lung function test, gas transfer (DLCO), which measures the ability to transfer oxygen from the air breathed into the bloodstream, was impacted in 44% of patients. Doctors at Christian Medical College described the situation as “very worrying.”

At least 35% of patients had restrictive lung defects, affecting their ability to expand with air during breathing. Additionally, 8.3% had obstructive lung defects, affecting their ability to breathe in and out. Quality of life tests revealed that the majority of patients experienced a negative outcome.

“In all aspects, Indian patients fared worse,” the TOI report quoted the study’s principal investigator, Dr. DJ Christopher, professor, department of pulmonary medicine, CMC, Vellore, as saying.
Furthermore, comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension were more prevalent in Indian patients than in European and Chinese subjects.

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