People suffering from allergic conditions are at a lower risk of developing COVID-19, according to a new UK study.
The research from Queen Mary University of London was published Thursday in the journal Thorax.
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By analyzing data from more than 16,000 adults between May 1, 2020 and February 5, 2021, the authors asked participants to provide information about their age, household conditions, job, lifestyle, weight, height, long-term medical conditions, medication use, vaccination status, and diet. and dietary intake when registering for the study in an online questionnaire.
Monthly follow-up questionnaires captured the COVID-19 incident, and the researchers used logistic regression models to estimate the relationship between potential risk factors and the odds of developing COVID-19.
15,227 people – with the majority women and almost 95% identifying their ethnic origin as white – completed at least one follow-up questionnaire and 14,348 people completed the final questionnaire. The average age of the participants was 59.
A total of 446 cases of coronavirus were registered, or almost 3% of the participants. 32 people were admitted to the hospital.
Those with atopic diseases such as eczema and those with hay fever or rhinitis had a 23% lower risk of contracting the disease.
Including people suffering from asthma, there was a 38% lower risk of infection – even after taking into account the use of steroid inhalers.
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Taking immunosuppressants was also associated with 53% lower odds of infection, although the authors noted that these statistics may reflect greater protection against infection in these patients.
In contrast to previous studies, the researchers found that older age, male gender and other underlying conditions were not associated with a higher risk of infection,
Alternatively, persons of Asian and Asian British ethnicity, overcrowding in households, socializing indoors with other households, employed in front line, exclusive health and social care and elevated body mass index or obesity, were independently associated with an increased risk.
Adults who were Asian or Asian British were twice as likely to test positive compared to white adults in the UK, and the higher the number of people sharing a household and the higher the number of visits to indoor public places, the higher the the chances of getting COVID- 19.
The researchers said the study shows that there is limited overlap between risk factors for developing COVID-19 and those for intensive care and death, as reported in hospitalized cohorts.
They also note that the study is observational and can not determine cause.
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Other limitations include the unsupervised COVID-19 inoculation test and the dependence on test results, which are usually due to symptoms – potentially lack of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In addition, ethnic minorities were underrepresented in the study.