If you have celiac disease and have been wondering about your increased risk of contracting COVID, some new research sheds light on this much-considered issue. Based on a survey of more than 18,000 people (~10,000 with celiac disease and ~8,000 without) from around the world, conducted between March and June 2020, researchers found that when compared to the general population, those with celiac disease are not at a greater risk for COVID-19. This study is the first large scale study looking at COVID risk in celiac disease patients.
Out of the 18,000 survey participants, 940 were tested for COVID and 9% reported positive results. Those in the general public were just as likely to test positive as those with celiac disease, despite the fact that those with celiac reported more comorbidities such as respiratory conditions, cardiac diseases, and diabetes.
In past recommendations from experts on celiac patients and COVID, scientists had suggested that those with celiac disease who are more symptomatic would most likely be at a higher risk of contracting COVID. However, study results do not support this position. Those who were symptomatic (32%) experienced the same odds of getting COVID when compared to those who were asymptomatic. The only factor that increased odds of contracting COVID in those with celiac disease was exposure to a COVID-19 contact.
While more studies are needed to validate the findings, everything scientists and researchers know up to this point support the hypothesis that those with celiac disease do not need to take additional precautions to protect themselves from contracting COVID. It is encouraged, for celiac patients and for the general population alike, to continue practicing social distancing, mask wearing outside the home, and thorough handwashing. Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology Journal