In March of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. As the rapid spread of the novel virus continues to impact communities worldwide, there has been understandable concern from the celiac community regarding celiac disease susceptibility and risk level. In this short video, Dr. Alessio Fasano shares his medical perspective on the virus as it pertains to people with celiac disease and gluten-related disorders.

Read the transcript

We've been receiving a multitude of inquiries from the celiac community concerning the susceptibility of patients with celiac disease to the coronavirus. Let me make clear from the very beginning that, you know, people with celiac disease are not immunocompromised patients. If affected by active celiac disease, of course the immune system [does not] work 100 percent, therefore the susceptibility to contract infections including coronavirus is increased.

However, if well-treated, the susceptibility is like the general population and the same rules apply. And the rules are the ones that have been dictated by the CDC and the NIH, so common sense is to avoid crowded situations, to avoid personal greetings like shaking hands and kisses, and at the first signs of flu-like symptoms (including runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc.), to quarantine ourselves [at] home until the coronavirus infection has been confirmed or ruled out.

I have to say that unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation on the web, and some people come up with information that is not trustworthy. The ones that are really evidence-based are the ones that come from authorities like the WHO (who by the way declared this as a pandemic situation, and so it will hit worldwide and already 150 countries have been involved) and the CDC and the NIH. I will really urge everybody to take this seriously and to take the precautions that have been given to us and not to underestimate the situation. Anything else than what the trustworthy authorities are telling us is something that I would take with a great level of caution.