People with food allergies are less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, than people without them, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and co-led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Tina Hartert, MD, MPH, has found.
In addition, the Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS) study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that a high body mass index and obesity raise risk of infection, but asthma does not.
The HEROS study also found that children 12 or younger are just as likely to become infected with the virus as teenagers and adults, but 75% of infections in children are asymptomatic. The study confirmed that SARS-CoV-2 transmission within households with children is high.
“The finding of a decreased risk of infection among those with food allergy was an unexpected finding,” said Hartert, professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, the Lulu H. Owen Professor of Medicine, director of the Center for Asthma Research and vice president for translational science at VUMC.
Hartert said further research is needed on the relationship between food allergy and COVID infection.