James Hobbs (james-hobbs)
April Coronavirus Open Thread
Could the coronavirus be interfering with the immune system in a way that is allowing Pneumocystis pneumonia to thrive?
My understanding is that Pneumocystis pneumonia, otherwise known as PJP or PCP, is caused by a fungus. It is highly opportunistic, and is rarely seen in people with healthy immune systems. It is highly associated with AIDS/HIV.
The fungus that causes it is widespread, and likely exists in the lungs of most healthy people.
I'm not sure about this one, but it seems relatively difficult to test for. Given it's rarity, it seems it is most are assumed to have it if they present symptoms and are positive for HIV/AIDS. If they are suspected, it seems they test for HIV/AIDS first.
Symptoms sound similar, if not the same as coronavirus
CT scans of those suffering from coronavirus and PJP are very similar, and both are very different from more typical pneumonia.
I have seen some papers that indicated the coronavirus may lower CD4 T-Cell counts, which is one of the reasons PJP is seen in HIV/AIDS patients. Not sure if this has been well studied and peer reviewed yet.
There exists a very effective treatment for PJP, Bactrim.
I could see how this might be overlooked given its rarity. Also I am not sure how much experience China has with HIV/AIDS and PJP. I also not an expert, and this might look foolish to someone who is more knowledgeable. I hope that person is out there and can weigh in.