Jaipur: Two medical professionals have in a joint study concluded that co-existence of corona virus with bacterial pathogen is a major cause of fatalities among COVID-19 patients.
Dr Jaideep Dogra, MD and in-charge of CGHS at Jaipur, and Dr Luvdeep Dogra, DM-F Nephrology at Osmania University, said that the bacterium 'Chlamydia pneumonia' gets activated when the host immune system is compromised by coronavirus.
The 'Chlamydia pneumonia Elementary Bodies' are formed after being released in blood leading to thrombosis of pulmonary artery, Dr Jaideep Dogra, MD and in-charge of CGHS in Jaipur, told IANS.
Dr Jaideep has also published a paper in the International Journal of General Medicine researching on Chlamydia pneumonia's role in the coronary artery disease.
He says, "When COVID-19 co-exists with a bacterial pathogen 'Chlamydia pneumonia', the highly infectious, but simple flu-like illness, becomes life-threatening."
According to him, "This 'Chlamydia pneumonia' is found in many heart patients and patients with other co-morbidity such as diabetes. When COVID-19 attacks, the immunity quotient goes for a tailspin and a process of blood coagulation initiates in pulmonary arteries, leading to a cardiac arrest (Type 2MI) or decreased perfusion of lungs, in which the patient succumbs to the dual viral and bacterial attack.
Dr Dogra said that around 85% cases of COVID-19 patients with normal Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) symptoms get cured with only symptomatic medicines, while the other 10-15 per cent of patients develop sudden breathlessness conditions. Now, here comes the role of pathogen (bacteria) in picture, he says.
In such cases, C.penumoniae bacteria probably gets activated when COVID-19 virus weakens the patient's immunity. "This bacterial pathogen has a tendency to get activated, causing arterial thrombo (coagulopathy)", he said.
Referring to a postmortem study made on COVID-19 victims in Italy in two hospitals, the doctor said: "Italy conducted autopsy studies on 38 subjects in two hospitals on those who died of COVID-19. The report was systematically analysed.
"There was a relevant presence of platelet-fibrin-thrombosis in small pulmonary arteries. It fits into the clinical context of a 'Coagulopathy' and was present in a majority of these patients (in 33 out of 38). This emerged as the turning point in COVID-19 management."
Further to explain 'Happy Hypoxia', they quote research results which proved that chlamydia pneumonia is present in young populations. During the autopsy reports collected from young soldiers during Korean War and Vietnam war, there were 45-77% of Coronary atherosclerosis in the age group of 26 years.
"However, why do only 10-15% of patients develop sudden breathlessness and land in the emergency? Moreover, such patients' conditions worsened after they were put on positive pressure ventilation. While those who got simple non-invasive oxygen delivery showed recovery. Now, we may argue that the ventilated patients were sicker, but then is there something beyond that too?", they questioned.
"Chlamydia pneumoniae is basically a species of Gram-negative obligate intracellular pathogen (the link between virus and bacteria) which causes lower and upper respiratory tract infection in humans which has been implicated in etiology/ pathogenesis of artery blockage", the two said.
The anti-bacterial drug Azithromycin, widely used for COVID-19 patients, is giving positive results, but optimal dosage is necessary for best results.
Doctors assume that it is controlling the virus, but this may be a wrong notion, Dogras said, adding, Azithromycin has been used for 'Chlamydia pneumonia' and by eradication of this bacteria, it is helping the Covid-19 patient.
"If Azithromycin is being administered in initial stages of Corona infection in optimum doses, the mortality risks of this dreaded disease can be minimised", they further stressed.
Azithromycin should always be taken under the guidance of treating physician to avoid side effects, they cautioned.