People with food allergies appear to have a lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Since the start of globalization pandemicresearchers have worked to determine who is most at risk of SARS-CoV-2and why.

Now, a new population-based study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found evidence of a curious coronavirus benefit for allergy sufferers.

In an analysis of more than 4,000 people who all lived in households that included minors, researchers noted several curious trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection, including that people with food allergy n were only about half as likely to be infected.

The findings correspond other recent researchwho found allergic conditions, like asthma, might offer some protection against severe cases of COVID-19[feminine].

In a somewhat similar fashion, the new NIH study found that asthma was not linked to an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, although asthma is a condition that affects the respiratory system. .

On the other hand, obesity and a high BMI index were factors that increased the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as was the age of children and adolescents sharing the living space.

But the discovery regarding food allergies might be the most remarkable finding.

“[T]he observed an association between food allergy and risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as between body mass index and this risk, merits further investigation,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Researchers don’t know why food allergies seem to make people less vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2, but there are a few possible explanations.

Half of all study participants claimed to have been diagnosed with food allergy, asthma, eczema or allergic rhinitis. These self-reports were then backed up by a subset of blood tests, which revealed antibody related to an allergic disease.

The researchers then tracked the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in participants’ households from May 2020 to February 2021.

People with eczema and asthma did not show additional vulnerability to virusbut they didn’t seem to be more protected either.

People with food allergies, meanwhile, had a 50% lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Not all forms of asthma are atopic (i.e. highly allergic) and the history studies showed that only people with atopic asthma express lower airway levels of the ACE2 receptor, to which SARS-CoV-2 attaches.

This suggests that the virus does not have as many ways to invade cells in the lungs of people with respiratory allergies.

Something similar could happen in people with food allergies, although the authors only looked at SARS-CoV-2 infection, not the severity of infection.

“It’s unclear if this is also the case in people with food allergies, but it’s tempting to assume that type 2 inflammation, a hallmark of food allergy, may lower ACE2 levels in the respiratory tract and therefore the risk of infection,” the researchers said. write.

“In support of this possibility, we found significantly higher levels of general atopy in people with self-reported food allergy, compared to both those without food allergy and even those with asthma.

Interestingly, while some studies suggest that allergic asthma protects against severe cases of COVID-19, the current study found that the disease does not protect against initial contraction of the virus.

Additionally, when a participant with asthma or food allergies contracted the novel coronavirus, they were no longer likely to be asymptomatic.

More research is needed to unravel the mechanisms behind the new findings, but the authors hope their research may offer new avenues for COVID-19 prevention.

The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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