Investigating the human rhinovirus co-infection in patients with asthma exacerbations and COVID-19

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Keywords

Asthma exacerbation, COVID-19, Rhinovirus, Co-infection

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the co-infections with human rhinovirus (HRV) among patients with asthma exacerbation and COVID-19 in Jordan. Also, to determine the frequency of acute asthma exacerbation before and during the COVID-19 pandemic on a matched basis. Methods: The data of this prospective cohort research consisted of clinical variables. During the first visit, and after 14-days, nasopharyngeal swabs were taken and the quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed for HRV and SARS-CoV-2 detection. Results: Forty-seven out of 175 (26.9%) COVID-19 adult cases have been diagnosed with asthma. The number of asthma exacerbations among the study participants was higher during 2021 than in 2020 (p=0.035). Most of the included asthmatic participants (61.7%) were only positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 38.3% were co-infected with HRV. The SARS-CoV-2 cycle threshold value was lower in samples infected with both viruses compared to samples infected with SARS-CoV-2 alone, p<0.005. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that HRV and SARS-CoV-2 were significantly more prevalent in asthma exacerbations than stable asthma. Thus, HRV and/or SARS-CoV-2 infections were potentially cofactors or contributors to the asthma exacerbation in this cohort. This is the first study, in Jordan, to investigate the HRV co-infection in COVID-19 asthmatic patients and HRV could be related with a higher severity of COVID-19.

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