Specialists from Charles University analyzed detailed information on the health status, lifestyle and habits of 5.1 thousand Czech residents, and at the time of the study, coronavirus was confirmed in 13.7% of participants. To determine biological, socioeconomic and behavioral factors, the scientists evaluated the data obtained using various tests.
As a result, the researchers were able to identify 105 factors that potentially increase or decrease the risk of infection. Some of them are well known: for example, a high body mass index. However, there were also unexpected discoveries: for example, taller, heavier men had an increased risk of infection compared to shorter ones who were overweight. It is noteworthy that in women, there was no connection between growth and the likelihood of infection.
It turned out that the risk of infection among the elderly and patients with immunodeficiency and obstructive pulmonary disease was lower than expected. According to scientists, this may be due to the fact that such people are well aware of their vulnerability and more carefully observe preventive measures. It is also noteworthy that the presence of dogs and cats did not in any way affect the likelihood of infection, although other scientific papers have stated such a connection.
Another interesting finding was that active sports and swimming in cold water were also found to be at increased risk of infection, although they did not affect the severity of COVID-19. Increases the likelihood of infection and the presence of depression and anxiety, especially in women.
As for protective factors, the study once again confirmed the effectiveness of strict adherence to the mask regimen. The study also found a link between vitamin supplementation and a reduced risk of infection.
The most surprising finding was that people who were diagnosed with borreliosis last year, as well as lovers of rooibos tea, have the lowest chances of infection and severe course of COVID-19. Scientists have suggested that the immunoregulatory activity of the extracellular parasite Borrelia may provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 and the cytokine storm. As for the rooibos, it might just be a coincidence. This drink does have anti-inflammatory properties, however, there is no evidence that it can somehow affect the defense against viral infection.