Asbestos Exposure and Severity of COVID-19


Background: The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between occupational exposure to asbestos and the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods: We evaluated patients who survived admission in our centre for COVID-19 pneumonia. Demographic, analytical, and clinical variables were collected during admission. After discharge, a previously validated occupational exposure to asbestos questionnaire was administered. Spirometry, CO diffusion test, the 6-min walk test, and high-resolution chest CT were performed. Patients who required respiratory support (oxygen, CPAP, or NIV) were considered severe.

Results: In total, 293 patients (mean age 54 + 13 years) were included. Occupational exposure to asbestos was detected in 67 (24%). Patients with occupational exposure to asbestos had a higher frequency of COVID-19 pneumonia requiring respiratory support (n = 52, 77.6%) than their unexposed peers (n = 139, 61.5%) (p = 0.015). Asbestos exposure was associated with COVID-19 severity in the univariate but not in the multivariate analysis. No differences were found regarding follow-up variables including spirometry and the DLCO diffusion, the 6-min walk test, and CT alterations.

Conclusions: In hospitalised patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, those with occupational exposure to asbestos more frequently needed respiratory support. However, an independent association between asbestos exposure and COVID-19 severity could not be confirmed.

Authors: Galo Granados, María Sáez-López, Cristina Aljama, Júlia Sampol, María-Jesús Cruz, Jaume Ferrer, Se-Covid-Team
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 Dec 6;19(23):16305. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192316305.