Home/ News / India/  Your allergies can protect you from Covid-19

Scientists have established a range of risk factors for serious illnesses with Covid, like obesity, several underlying health conditions, and High body mass index. However, some factors might make someone less likely to contract Covid. Research suggests that people having any kind of allergies are less likely to have coronavirus.

There are numerous kinds of allergies across the globe. At least 400 million people around the world are affected by pollen allergies or hay fever. Some 300 million people suffer from allergic asthma (induced by inhaling allergens), while food allergies affect around 250 million.

Many people are also allergic to certain drugs. Allergic reactions can range from mild (perhaps some redness and swelling on the skin) to severe (anaphylactic shock, which can cause death).

Atopic diseases is a name given to a group of conditions triggered by allergens and includes hay fever, eczema, and dermatitis. According to a report by The Conversation, people with atopic diseases have 25% lower odds of contracting Covid-19. For people with atopic disease and asthma, the risk is 38% lower compared to people without these conditions.

A separate study showed that people with food allergies were 50% less likely to become infected with the coronavirus.

Why people with allergies are at lower risk of contracting Covid?

To be able to infect the body, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) attaches to a specific protein called the ACE2 receptor. This protein provides the entry point for the virus to infect a wide range of human cells.

Having higher amounts of ACE2 receptors is associated with increased susceptibility to Covid infection. People who smoke, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure (all of which are associated with a higher likelihood of severe Covid) have more ACE2 receptors.

Meanwhile, it has been shown that type 2 inflammation – a normal immune reaction that can occur in response to infections or parasites but also occurs prominently in allergic conditions – reduces ACE2 expression in the airways. This decreases susceptibility to infection and is considered the primary reason people with allergies appear to be at lower risk of catching coronavirus.

There is also a range of other factors that may contribute to reducing Covid infection risk among those with allergies. For example, people with asthma tend to produce more mucus than others, which is understood to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering the airways.

However, if someone suffers from other diseases in combination with asthma or allergies, it’s important to be aware that this could increase Covid severity.

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Updated: 25 Aug 2022, 10:39 AM IST
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