Allergic to pollen? There is good news: you may be better protected from COVID

In May it goes away. The wisdom that applies to ordinary flu probably also applies to the coronavirus. Only: not the rising temperatures or decreasing humidity explain the downturn, but the increase in flower, tree and grass pollen. The more pollen that is so irritating to hay fever patients, the less chance the coronavirus gets, as a new associative study shows.

“The great thing is,” says virologist Eric van Gorp of the Erasmus Medical Center, the study is concerned, “hay fever patients are now acknowledged that they are especially sensitive to the coronavirus due to respiratory irritation. Now, based on this study, it appears that they are more likely to benefit from their allergies. ”Pollen activates the immune response that also protects against flu-like viruses such as Covid-19. The connection was established and statistically substantiated by Martijn Hoogeveen, originally a neuro-immunologist, in daily life as a professor and entrepreneur in e-commerce.

“First of all, pollen is antiviral in itself. They can bind or pack viruses, or strip the virus of its protective fat layer.”

Pollen also tickles the immune system, which reduces the chance of the corona virus.

“In hay fever patients, about 26 percent of the population, the activation of the immune system is stronger than in those who do not suffer from it,” says Hoogeveen. “But if you look at all the immune responses to pollen, the increase in the immune response applies to more than 50 percent of the population. Then in the hay fever season you have a temporary group immunity against corona. “

Van Gorp calls the opposite relationship between pollen and flu-like viruses.

“With this association you can enter the lab to conduct further research into cause and effect, so-called pathogenic research. This study allows us to look at patients and the risks of viral respiratory infections differently.”

What the findings mean for policy? If you know that this pandemic is also seasonal, you can reduce the lockdown faster. But you also should know: the coronavirus returns in mid-August.

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