Home U.K Allergies may cut risk of catching Covid by almost a quarter

Allergies may cut risk of catching Covid by almost a quarter


Research made possible by a “Labs’ Army” of more than 15,000 people, including Daily Express readers, has shed new light on factors that put us at risk. Other key findings include proof that being overweight increases the risk of getting Covid by 51 percent. The COVIDENCE UK study began when scientists put out an appeal for volunteers in this newspaper last May.

In total more than 15,000 volunteers signed up and were asked to complete a detailed lifestyle survey every month.

Professor Seif Shaheen, a respiratory epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and study co-author, said: “There was an assumption that people with asthma would do badly but our study clearly shows that this is not the case.”

One theory is that the drop in risk is because people with allergies also have fewer ACE-2 receptors – the protein that opens the door to Covid-19.

The study also confirmed that lockdowns can save lives, as people who go shopping and mix with other households often are more likely to become infected.

Professor Adrian Martineau, a respiratory specialist also based at QMUL, said: “It really does underline the good rationale for sticking to the rules.”

People from Asian ethnic backgrounds were more than twice as likely to test positive than those of white ethnicity – echoing findings from similar studies.

“One of the key findings is that ethnic differences in risk weren’t explained by social factors alone,” Prof Martineau said.

Being older did not increase risk of catching coronavirus, although older people are more likely to become seriously ill if they do. And men are at higher risk of dying from Covid-19 but the risk of catching it is the same for both sexes.

The study was published on the online preprint server MedRxiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

The team, from King’s College London, the Universities of Edinburgh and Swansea, Queen’s University Belfast, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, now plans to investigate what factors play a role in risk of Long Covid and how well people respond to vaccination.

Anyone over 16 can volunteer at www.qmul.ac.uk/covidence


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