Because this study took place between 2020 and 2021 – before the advent of vaccines and advanced versions of the virus – it is not known how much of this research is still valid today, especially as more and more new sub-variants of the omicron begin to spread.
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The researchers performed nasal surfaces of all participants every two weeks. Each participant also completed a weekly survey, detailing their health and daily activities. In addition, the researchers collected blood samples from the participants from time to time. It was found that people with food allergies had a low rate of almost 50% infection with corona, while people with other allergic conditions had a higher risk.
Why do food allergies reduce the risk of contracting corona?
It is not clear so far why food allergies have been associated with a reduced risk of contracting the virus. The researchers examined the idea that people and households with food allergies may be less likely to eat in restaurants, which reduces their exposure to people. This theory was refuted once the researchers found that households with food allergies have only slightly lower levels of exposure compared to other households.
Another theory attempts to trace the receptors responsible for the entry of the virus into the body. Allergies kill a large part of the ACE2 receptors in cells, and the researchers claim that this makes it much more difficult for the virus to spread in the body. The authors of the study explain that type 2 inflammation, an immune response common in allergic conditions, may reduce the amount of ACE2 receptors on the surface of respiratory cells. Because these ACE2 receptors serve as an important entry point for the COVID-19 virus, a low rate of receptors can make it difficult for the virus to enter the body. However, type 2 inflammation also exists in people with eczema and certain types of asthma, although their risk of infection remains high.
Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan, a certified Los Angeles-based non-research allergist, said people with food allergies also have some differences in their microbiome or immune system. “When you have a food allergy, your body protects or overreacts. By creating certain antibodies to a specific protein, “Marks-Cogan said.