Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, experts had determined that consumers with asthma aren’t likely to develop severe cases of the virus.
Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Taylor and Francis Group is doubling down on those findings. The team’s work revealed that having asthma doesn’t increase consumers’ risk of death from COVID-19. In fact, they learned that asthma sufferers are less likely to contract the virus and less likely to require hospitalization.
“Chemical receptors in the lungs that the virus binds to are less active in people with a particular type of asthma and some studies suggest that inhaled corticosteroids -- commonly used to treat asthma -- can reduce their activity even further,” said researcher Christine Jenkins. “Also, initial uncertainty about the impact of asthma on COVID-19 may have caused anxiety among patients and caregivers leading them to be more vigilant about preventing infection.”
How does asthma impact COVID-19?
The researchers analyzed nearly 60 studies that contained information on more than 587,000 people to determine what effect asthma has on COVID-19. Approximately eight percent of the participants involved in the study had asthma, which the researchers believe is a fairly close comparison to the global percentage of people with the condition.
Though both asthma and COVID-19 affect the lungs, and many asthma sufferers were worried that the virus would affect them more, these study findings should ease some of those concerns. The researchers learned that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is 14 percent lower for people with asthma, and the likelihood of being hospitalized is even less. The study also showed that asthma doesn’t increase the risk for coronavirus-related death.
The biggest asthma-related concern was for older participants, as this group was more likely to contract the virus than younger asthma sufferers. However, the researchers attribute this to the way that age affects COVID-19 severity, rather than asthma.
While these findings are certainly positive for consumers with asthma, the researchers hope that more work is done to better understand how asthma and COVID-19 interact with each other.
“While we showed that people with asthma do not seem to have a higher risk of infection with COVID-19 compared to those without asthma and have similar outcomes, we need further research to better understand how the virus affects those with asthma,” said researcher Dr. Anthony Sunjaya.