Higher airborne pollen concentrations correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, as evidenced from 31 countries across the globe

Significance Coexposure to airborne pollen enhances susceptibility to respiratory viral infections, regardless of the allergy status. We hypothesized this could be also true for SARS-CoV-2 infections. To investigate this, we tested for relationships between SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and pollen concentrations, along with humidity, temperature, population density, and lockdown effects. Our unique dataset derives from 130 sites in 31 countries and across five continents. We found that pollen, sometimes in synergy with humidity and temperature, explained, on average, 44% of the infection rate variability. Lockdown halved infection rates under similar pollen concentrations. As we cannot completely avoid pollen exposure, we suggest wide dissemination of pollen−virus coexposure information to encourage high-risk individuals to wear particle filter masks during high springtime pollen concentrations.
 

Berezovska [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

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Citation: Athanasios Damialis, Stefanie Gilles, Mikhail Sofiev, Viktoria Sofieva, Franziska Kolek, Daniela Bayr, Maria P. Plaza, Vivien Leier-Wirtz, Sigrid Kaschuba, Lewis H. Ziska, Leonard Bielory, László Makra, Maria del Mar Trigo, COVID-19/POLLEN study group, Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Mar 2021, 118 (12) e2019034118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2019034118

The post Higher airborne pollen concentrations correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, as evidenced from 31 countries across the globe appeared first on Healthier Environment Living Program.

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