[Air pollution: a determinant for COVID-19?]Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2020 05 28; 164NT
Preliminary data from the Wuhan area in China, Northern Italy and specific areas in the United States suggest a correlation between the severity of the pandemic with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), COVID-19, and air pollution. Observations in the Netherlands are in line with these data. COVID-19 struck hard in the eastern part of the province of Brabant, where levels of fine particulate matter and ammonia are relatively high due to intensive livestock farming. Mechanisms by which air pollution might facilitate SARS-CoV-2 infection include a possible link between upregulation of the angiotensin converting enzyme receptor by air pollution and the host being prone to more severe COVID-19. Although the data are not yet peer-reviewed and the potential association does not necessarily imply causality, these data do stress the need for further investigation. If air pollution plays a role in the severity of the corona pandemic, more vigorous legislation concerning air quality is pivotal.