COVID-19: Food allergy reduces the risk of infection

COVID-19: Food allergy reduces the risk of infection

The Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS) study also finds that children 12 years of age and younger are just as likely to be infected with the virus as adolescents and adults, but confirms that most infections in children, that is, 75% are asymptomatic vs 59% in adolescents and 38% in adults. Finally, the study provides another confirmation, of the high transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within households with children… The range of viral load in infected children is comparable to that of adolescents and adults. Therefore, young children can be very effective transmitters of SARS-CoV-2 within the family. Therefore, the researchers return to ask the much-debated question of their vaccination…:

“These data show the importance of vaccinating children and implementing other public health measures to prevent them from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, to protect both children and their most vulnerable loved ones from the virus. ”. At least, this is the position of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIAID, a position that is still open to debate.

Allergy reduces virus cell receptors

This is the new conclusion of the HEROS study that monitored the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in more than 4,000 participants belonging to almost 1,400 households that included at least one person aged 21 years or younger. The study was conducted in 12 cities in the United States, between May 2020 and February 2021, before the widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccination and before the emergence of variants of concern. About half of the participating children, adolescents, and adults had food allergies, asthma, eczema, or allergic rhinitis. Nasal swabs were taken every 2 weeks and if a household member developed COVID-19-like symptoms, further testing was done. Blood samples were also taken periodically, especially when cases ran in a family. The analysis reveals that:

  • having a self-reported and/or diagnosed food allergy is associated with a 50% reduced risk of infection

– self-reported food allergies were verified by testing for specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody levels;

  • on the other hand, such an association is not found in cases of asthma or other allergic conditions such as eczema and allergic rhinitis.

What process? Scientists hypothesize that type 2 inflammation, characteristic of these allergic conditions, could reduce levels of the ACE2 receptor present on the surface of airway cells and used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter airway cells. Additionally, behavioral differences among people with food allergies, such as going to restaurants less often, could also explain some of the reduced risks of infection. Bi-weekly assessments find that households with food allergic members have lower levels of community contact/exposure, but only slightly more than other households.

BMI risk marker such as obesity: Numerous studies have documented obesity as a major factor in the severe form of COVID-19. The HEROS study reveals a strong linear relationship between BMI and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection:

  • every 10-point increase in BMI increases the risk of infection by 9%;
  • we also find the impact of obesity: overweight or obese participants have a 41% higher risk of infection, and no complications or severe forms.

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