Respiratory conditions in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Important considerations regarding novel treatment strategies to reduce mortality.
Med Hypotheses. 2020 Apr 22 ;140:109760. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32344310
Mark R Geier
A novel virus named 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV/SARS-CoV-2) causes symptoms that are classified as coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Respiratory conditions are extensively described among more serious cases of COVID-19, and the onset of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is one of the hallmark features of critical COVID-19 cases. ARDS can be directly life-threatening because it is associated with low blood oxygenation levels and can result in organ failure. There are no generally recognized effective treatments for COVID-19, but treatments are urgently needed. Anti-viral medications and vaccines are in the early developmental stages and may take many months or even years to fully develop. At present, management of COVID-19 with respiratory and ventilator support are standard therapeutic treatments, but unfortunately such treatments are associated with high mortality rates. Therefore, it is imperative to consider novel new therapeutic interventions to treat/ameliorate respiratory conditions associated with COVID-19. Alternate treatment strategies utilizing clinically available treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusions, or erthropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) therapy were hypothesized to increase oxygenation of tissues by alternative means than standard respiratory and ventilator treatments. It was also revealed that alternative treatments currently being considered for COVID-19 such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine by increasing hemoglobin production and increasing hemoglobin availability for oxygen binding and acetazolamine (for the treatment of altitude sickness) by causing hyperventilation with associated increasing levels of oxygen and decreasing levels of carbon dioxide in the blood may significantly ameliorate COVID-19 respiratory symptoms. In conclusion, is recommend, given HBOT, pRBC, and ESA therapies are currently available and routinely utilized in the treatment of other conditions, that such therapies be tried among COVID-19 patients with serious respiratory conditions and that future controlled-clinical trials explore the potential usefulness of such treatments among COVID-19 patients with respiratory conditions.