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To-date, there has not been a clear signal suggesting that asthma or treatment with inhaled steroids are a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. We have therefore explored ACE2 receptor mRNA expression, and co-factors for Sars-CoV-2 infectivity (TMPRSS2 and furin) in bronchial brushes and biopsies from people with asthma and healthy controls, and looked for relationships between asthma severity, Th2- and IL-17 dependent gene signatures, and clinical demographics (age, sex). We have looked at a cohort of 356 research participants from previously described studies. The only significant association was a positive correlation between ACE2 and IL-17-dependent gene expression, and an inverse correlation between ACE2 and Th2-cytokine-dependent gene expression. These data suggest that differences in ACE2, TMPRSS2 and furin epithelial and airway gene expression are unlikely to confer enhanced COVID-19 pneumonia risk in patients with asthma across all treatment intensities and severity.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology

Publication Date



National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (Respiratory theme) and College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester, UK. Electronic address: