Lakiea Wright, MD: Allergies, Asthma, and COVID-19

September 30, 2020

An expert discusses how allergies can make it easier for viruses to enter the body as well as the association between asthma and COVID-19 severity.

In a recent interview with HCPLive®, Lakiea Wright, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, discussed the effects allergies have on contracting viruses as well as asthma as a potential risk factor for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

She fexplained how allergies, such as allergic rhinitis, leads to an immune response and a breaking down of mucus membranes in the nose. Therefore, lacking this protective barrier allows viruses or bacteria to penetrate the membrane and enter the body.

Wright stressed that it is important for clinicians to identify and target allergic triggers in patients that suffer from such symptoms.

Additionally, Wright described several studies that have examined a potential association between asthma and the severity of COVID-19. While, some early studies indicated that asthma may be a risk factor for the disease, later reports seemed to suggest otherwise—although studies in the pediatric population are still lacking.

“In all, I would say that the studies are conflicting,” Wright said.

She noted that the US Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recently established two categories for conditions—those that increase risk and those that might increase risk for moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Asthma was placed in the latter category.

Nonetheless, asthma control continues to be a top priority during this ongoing pandemic.