COVID-19 Does Not Increase Risk of Celiac Disease

June 30, 2023

A study published last month suggests that a COVID-19 infection does not increase the risk of developing Celiac disease. Researchers in Sweden used the health records of 1.4 million inhabitants to examine the rates of new Celiac disease diagnoses in those who experienced a COVID-19 infection and those who had not. They also examined the rate of Celiac disease diagnoses before the pandemic as a control. 

Researchers found fewer cases of Celiac disease during the pandemic timeframe than before. Researchers state that this is most likely not due to a lack of access to testing, as rates of Celiac disease in the country were decreasing before the pandemic. That being said, it remains a possibility. More importantly, they did not find any difference in the rates of Celiac disease diagnoses in those who had a positive COVID test and those who didn’t. They acknowledge that a lack of access to COVID-19 testing, especially early in the pandemic, makes it impossible to know whether all participants who had COVID-19 were correctly assigned to the “Covid positive” group. However, there was no noticeable relationship between the time of COVID-19 infection and the time of Celiac disease diagnosis. There is a known timeframe at which Celiac disease tends to be diagnosed after other certain infections.

The researchers concluded that COVID-19 does not increase the risk of developing Celiac disease, at least in the short term. This suggests that respiratory infections do not increase the risk of developing Celiac disease in the same manner that gastrointestinal infections do. Scientists emphasized the need for further research to confirm their findings.