With many in the field of allergy and immunology focusing attention during the COVID-19 pandemic on how patients with allergies and asthma may be affected if they become infected with the virus, researchers examined hospital data to determine whether patients with allergic conditions experience more severe COVID-19-related outcomes than those without such conditions. “We examined the charts of 275 patients admitted to the hospital who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus for any history of allergic disease,” Dylan Timberlake, MD, lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Over the 2-month period when we examined the charts, we found the severity of disease didn’t seem to differ between COVID-19 patients with allergies, versus COVID-19 patients without allergies.” Disease severity was determined by such factors as ICU admission, length of stay, need for supplemental oxygen, and intubation rate. Although more patients with allergies had COPD (39% vs 17%)—a known risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes—the study team found a statistical trend suggesting possible protection in patients with pre-existing allergic disease, but not asthma, after controlling for the presence of COPD and its association with more severe COVID-related illness.
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