Exposure to air pollution and COVID infection in young adults are linked, a study

Air pollution. Credit: Unsplash

CMEDIA: Young adults are prone to developing COVID-19 infection or testing positive for the disease with even short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution, according to the published results in JAMA Network Open last week by the researchers from the medical university Karolinska Institutet.

The researchers said that their results are “consistent with those of previous ecological studies in several countries and regions indicating that areas with poorer air quality are more likely to have more infections.”

“Our results add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution has a part to play in COVID-19 and support the potential benefit of improving air quality,” Olena Gruzieva, an associate professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet and one of the study’s authors, said in a news release.

After referencing other studies as well, the researchers speculated that short-term exposure to air pollution can affect airway inflammation and oxidative stress, they say, while absorbed air pollutants can cause deep lung irritation and alter immune responses.

Researchers base the identification of cases who tested positive for COVID-19 on the BAMSE project, the Swedish abbreviation for Children, Allergy, Milieu, Stockholm, Epidemiology.

The project is an ongoing study following more than 4,000 participants, born between 1994 and 1996 in Stockholm, from birth.

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