Science and the Coronavirus: Hypertensive drugs decrease the probability of death in hypertensive patients; scientific evidence that the coronavirus has natural origins
In this segment of Science and the Coronavirus, a systematic study of the SARS-CoV2 genome and protein structure provides compelling scientific evidence of the coronavirus having natural origins rather than synthetic or artificial origination from laboratories. Furthermore, a new retrospective study from patients in Wuhan from December 31st - February 20th shows that administration of commonly prescribed hypertensive drugs ACE Inhibitors (ACEI) and Angiotensin Receptor II blockers (ARB) decreases the probability of death among patients with hypertension who get COVID19.
Association of Inpatient Use of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers with Mortality Among Patients With Hypertension Hospitalized With COVID-19
In this study, 1128 hypertensive patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were admitted to nine hospitals in Hubei Province, China from December 31, 2019 to February 20, 2020. 188 of them were taking ACEI/ARB (ACEI/ARB group; median age 64 years; 53.2% men) and 940 were not (non-ACEI/ARB group; median age 64; 53.5% men).
It was discovered that the unadjusted mortality rate was lower in the ACEI/ARB group versus the non-ACEI/ARB group. In mixed-effect Cox model treating site as a random effect, after adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities, and in-hospital medications, the detected risk for all-cause mortality was lower in the ACEI/ARB group versus the non-ACEI/ARB group.
The study therefore concluded that among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with hypertension, inpatient use of ACEI/ARB was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality compared with ACEI/ARB non-users. While the study interpretation needs to consider the potential for residual confounders, it is unlikely that in-hospital use of ACEI/ARB was associated with an increased mortality risk.
The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2
We've all read the conspiracy theories that the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged, not from wild animals living in nature who were captured and sold in a wet market, but from a secret laboratory in Wuhan where viruses were manufactured. The release of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was said to be accidental rather than deliberate, but its origins were alleged to have been synthetic in nature.
A new study disputes this conspiracy theory. The authors offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Their analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.