Recent Published Articles

Impact of short-term ambient air pollution exposure on the risk of severe COVID-19


Yu Chen , Baihuan Feng , Jiangshan Lian , Fei Yu , Dan Zhang , Weizhen Chen , Qi Wang , Yifei Shen , Guoliang Xie , Ruonan Wang , Yun Teng , Bin Lou , Shufa Zheng , Yida Yang

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2022.09.040

Received May 31, 2022,Revised , Accepted September 27, 2022, Available online October 11, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 610-618

Ecological studies suggested a link between air pollution and severe COVID-19 outcomes, while studies accounting for individual-level characteristics are limited. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the impact of short-term ambient air pollution exposure on disease severity among a cohort of 569 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to designated hospitals in Zhejiang province, China, from January 17 to March 3, 2020, and elucidate the possible biological processes involved using transcriptomics. Compared with mild cases, severe cases had higher proportion of medical conditions as well as unfavorable results in most of the laboratory tests, and manifested higher air pollution exposure levels. Higher exposure to air pollutants was associated with increased risk of severe COVID-19 with odds ratio (OR) of 1.89 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 3.53), 2.35 (95% CI: 1.20, 4.61), 2.87 (95% CI: 1.68, 4.91), and 2.01 (95% CI: 1.10, 3.69) for PM2.5, PM10, NO2 and CO, respectively. OR for NO2 remained significant in two-pollutant models after adjusting for other pollutants. Transcriptional analysis showed 884 differentially expressed genes which mainly were enriched in virus clearance related biological processes between patients with high and low NO2 exposure levels, indicating that compromised immune response might be a potential underlying mechanistic pathway. These findings highlight the impact of short-term air pollution exposure, particularly for NO2, on COVID-19 severity, and emphasize the significance in mitigating the COVID-19 burden of commitments to improve air quality.

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