Oxygen therapy harms lung microbiome: Study
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Developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 can lead to respiratory complications such as viral pneumonia and pulmonary embolism, thus requiring mechanical ventilation for breathing and life support.

In a recent article, published in Science Translational Medicine, scientists have stated that the high flow of oxygen from the ventilators can result in lung damage.

What does this mean for severe COVID-19 patients?

Researchers conducted an experiment on newborn and adult mouse models to establish the effect of high flow oxygen in the body, which is known as hyperoxia.

The scientists found that in the critically-ill patients, high flow oxygen from mechanical ventilation promotes the growth of microbes (such as Staphylococcus aureus) in the lungs which can result in pneumonia and abscess.

Scientists also found that when the mice experienced hyperoxia, there was a change in the bacteria present in the lungs and gut of these mice.

This disturbance in the lung and gut microbiota resulted in lung inflammation and oxygen-induced lung injury.

The researchers further stated that oxygen-induced lung injury was less prevalent in the mice who were germ-free and had undergone systemic antibiotic treatment.

Doctors have already reported that people who require mechanical ventilation for a long period of time present with lung damage in the form of pneumonia, pneumothorax (fluid build-up in the lungs), oxygen toxicity and even lung failure.

It has been observed that COVID-19 positive patients who required ICU care and ventilator support for breathing, faced various physical as well as mental problems in the longer run.

Source: https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/12/556/eaau9959
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