Could having asthma protect you from COVID-19? Maybe.

Since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, public health organizations, like the CDC and WHO, warned that people with respiratory conditions may have a higher risk of developing severe illness as a result of COVID-19. Since COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory condition, it would make sense that people with asthma may be at higher risk.

But instead of finding asthma to be a common risk factor for COVID-19, some studies from around the world did not show an increased risk for people with asthma. Researchers from the The University of Wisconsin-Madison and at others asthma research centers are trying to understand why COVID-19 patients didn’t include an especially high number of people with asthma.

The University of Wisconsin researchers suspect the explanation may be genetic. You can think about it this way… If the virus is a key and cells have locks that fit the key, the cells of people with asthma may not have locks that fit. This appears to be true in patients with asthma and allergies, but maybe not in asthma patients without allergies. 

Other researchers at The University of California, San Francisco are investigating whether some inhaled controller medications may have a protective effect. Their data suggests that inhaled corticosteroids may provide some protection to patients with asthma by blocking the virus’ access to the cell (or preventing the key from opening the lock).

The key message here is to continue using your asthma medications as recommended. Research shows that there is no risk of using inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, and they may be some additional benefits. So be sure to maintain your treatment plan.

Of course, this is early data. The results of these studies will need to be confirmed. We’ll be following this story closely and will be sure to share any updates. Stay tuned!

Read about the University of Wisconsin-Madison study at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


If you have questions about your health or you’re not feeling well, contact your healthcare provider by phone or visit their website to determine whether you should be seen in-person.

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