COVID-19 patients who also suffer from high blood pressure are more likely to fall severely ill with the disease, which also leaves them at greater risk of death. Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in collaboration with partners in Heidelberg and Leipzig, have now found that the immune cells of patients with hypertension are already pre-activated, and that this pre-activation is greatly enhanced under COVID-19. This most likely explains the augmented response of the immune system and the more severe disease progression. However, certain hypertension-reducing drugs known as ACE inhibitors can have a beneficial effect. They not only lower blood pressure, but also counteract immune hyperactivation. The scientists have now published their findings in the journal Nature Biotechnology.