The Anonymous Widower

The Recovery Trial And Coeliac Disease

The Recovery Trial appears to have been a success, with another drug announced to have positive benefits in fighting Covid-19 today.

As a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet like up to one-in-100 or even 1-in-50, in the UK, I wonder what they have found out about my susceptibility to Covid-19 and how my disease would affect my treatment!

I just typed “coeliac” into the Recovery Trial and I found nothing.

Using Google directly, I didn’t get any matches either.

So I suspect that they know nothing about how coeliacs are affected by Covid-19.

Since 1997, after I was diagnosed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, I’ve been on a strict long-term gluten-free diet, my health has improved dramatically from what it was for the previous fifty years.

My only major health issue, since 1997, has been a serious stroke in 2010, from which I have made an almost full recovery.

But one cardiologist has told me, that the stroke could have been caused by fifty years of unhealthy eating, that damaged my heart muscle to cause atrial fibrillation.

I have only found one serious peer-reviewed study on coeliac disease and Covid-19 on the Internet.

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

How Many Patients In The Recovery Trial Are Coeliac?

The Wikipedia entry for The Recovery Trial says this about the numbers of patients.

The trial began in March 2020 and has an estimated duration through June 2021. As of December 2020, the trial had enrolled more than 20,000 COVID-19 participants admitted to hospitals in the UK.

A figure of 1-in-100 is accepted, as an at least figure of the number of coeliacs in the UK population. Some doctors rate it as high as 1-in-50.

So that should mean that somewhere between 200 and 400 of those on the trial were coeliac. But that figure would include those who were both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

I would love to have an answer to my question. But I suspect, that the data is not available.

Another Answer

There could of course be another answer – Diagnosed coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet don’t get the virus serious enough to go into hospital.


February 12, 2021 - Posted by | Health | , , ,


  1. There is a lot of chatter in the Facebook groups relating to people with coeliac disease – many of them complaining that they aren’t on the list of people who are entitled to earlier vaccination. I am, and have had mine, but that is because of the blood cancer I have. I haven’t come across anyone with the same cancer as I have who also has coeliac disease. That said, when I had post sepsis gut problems due to massive amounts of antibiotics for prolonged periods, my colonoscopy showed my colon to be healthy, with a couple of tiny diverticulae and no real sign of damaged cilia. Which is a testament to how well I keep to the gluten free diet, according to gastro doc.

    I have been equally stringent in shielding during the pandemic. I go to hospital if I have to, to GP and I had to have a root canal at the dentist – I put up with the tooth ache because I didnt want to have to go amongst people to see a dentist. I went to the funeral of my husband’s brother, to support my husband, but it was all done very well socially distanced, and there was a separate area for people sheilding.

    I am getting used to staying in – I have been doing it for nearly a year now. And I an doing big projects – total reorganisation of sewing room took a long time. And now I am busy digitising the family archive of photos and documents – as the only living grandchild of one set of grandparents and the only living great grandchild of the other side, I ended up with all the photos etc. Will be a very time taking task, but worth it when it is done.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | February 14, 2021 | Reply

  2. It is my view, that the coeliacs, who need vaccinating, are those that have not been diagnosed. I have heard so many tales of coeliacs on a long term gluten-free diet, who have been exposed to Covid-19 and not caught it, that they can’t all be luck!

    My son died because he was a coeliac-denier. My late wife, felt that like me, he was coeliac but wouldn’t get tested. I now know he was coeliac, But it is too late and his smoking led to pancreatic cancer, which killed him at just 37.

    On the other hand, to live with coeliac disease you have to be careful. So does it mean that coeliacs are following the Covid-19 rules better than most?

    Comment by AnonW | February 14, 2021 | Reply

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