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Severe COVID-19 less common in patients with GI symptoms

Reuters - 22/09/2020 - People with gastrointestinal symptoms related to the new coronavirus, like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, may be significantly less likely to develop severe COVID-19 and die, a new study found.

New York City doctors looked at 635 COVID-19 patients, expecting to see worse disease when the GI tract was involved. To their surprise, patients admitted with GI symptoms had 50% lower odds of severe COVID-19 and death, compared to patients without GI symptoms, even after accounting for age, race, and underlying medical conditions.

Also unexpectedly, patients with GI involvement had lower levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood. A subset who underwent closer inspection of their intestines had virus particles in gut tissues, but relatively little inflammation, and low activity of genes responsible for making inflammatory proteins, doctors found, according to a paper posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

When the New York doctors collaborated with Italian colleagues to study 287 COVID-19 patients in Milan, they saw the same link between GI involvement and less-severe disease, Dr. Saurabh Mehandru of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Reuters.

Mehandru's team has also found that factoring GI symptoms into the initial patient assessment may help identify those at risk for more severe disease.

By Reuters Staff

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/33iymoF medRxiv, online September 9, 2020.

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