Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Long-term exposure to air pollution and severe covid-19

A long history of exposure to air pollution is associated with a higher risk of developing severe disease, admission to hospital or an intensive care unit (ICU) and death by COVID‑19, new research indicates.

The study, led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), was based on a large cohort of 4,660,502 adults who lived in Catalonia in 2020 – the year the Spanish autonomous community had a high incidence of COVID-19.

The researchers determined the mean annual levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5, particles with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 µm), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), black carbon (BC) and ozone (O3) at the residential address of each participant.

They also collected data on severe cases of COVID-19 in 2020, including the number of hospital and ICU admissions, length of hospital stay, and COVID-19-related deaths.

An analysis of this data revealed the following associations:

  • An increase in exposure to PM2.5 of 3.2 µg/m3 was associated with a 19% increase in hospital admissions.
  • An increase in exposure to NO2 of 16.1 µg/m3 was associated with a 42% increase in ICU admissions.
  • An increase in exposure to BC of 0.7 µg/m3 was associated with a 6% increase in mortality.

“Our findings add further compelling evidence on the importance of reducing levels of air pollution to improve the health of the population in general and, in particular, to reduce the incidence of severe acute respiratory infections,” concluded Otavio Ranzani, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study.

Image credit | Getty

Related Articles

Self-sampling for asymptomatic mpox

A pilot study carried out in Catalonia to evaluate the self-collection of biological samples reveals the high acceptability of the proposal and the key role of diagnosis in people without symptoms of mpox.

The contribution of viral pathogens to sepsis

SARS-CoV-2 accounted for one in six cases of sepsis during the first 33 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of viral sepsis, according to a new study.

Congress 2023: the biggest, best ever

After four days, 19 lecture streams, hundreds of speakers and 5000 delegates passing through the doors of Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, IBMS Congress 2023 came to a close. Here we look back at a selection of the sessions and activities at this year’s event, which had the theme “Linking learning to the laboratory”.

Jabs in decline

From vaccine hesitancy to misunderstanding and misinformation, we look at why UK targets for public vaccination are being missed.