World News – GB – People with Down syndrome are at higher risk of severe COVID-19


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October 27, 2020

by Amy Norton, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay) – When adults with Down syndrome contract COVID-19, their risk of dying is much higher than normal, according to a major new study

Researchers found that out of more than 8 million UK adults, people with Down syndrome were four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to die from the infection

At present, people with Down syndrome are not on the list of ‘high risk’ groups for severe COVID-19 But experts said the new findings show they should be

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Down syndrome is a genetic disorder in which people carry a third copy of chromosome 21, instead of just two.It usually results in stunted growth and varying degrees of intellectual disability People with this disorder are also prone certain medical problems, including congenital heart disease and respiratory disorders, sleep apnea

In this study, these conditions explained some of the excessive risk in adults with Down syndrome, but not all

« In people with Down syndrome, the immune system is over-reactive, » said Joaquin Espinosa, executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down syndrome at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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This is often manifested by autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroid disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. But more broadly, people with Down syndrome exhibit « deregulation » of the immune system , explained Espinosa, who was not involved in the new study

In many cases of severe COVID-19, he noted, an overly aggressive immune response – called a cytokine storm – is thought to end up damaging organs in the body And, in theory, people with Down syndrome would be more vulnerable to it

In May, Espinosa wrote a comment published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine stating that Down syndrome should be considered a risk factor for severe COVID-19

The study, published online October 21 in Annals of Internal Medicine, was led by Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox, of the University of Oxford in the UK Her team used a database of primary care with information on millions of patients, allowing them to link SARS-CoV-2 screening results to hospitalization and death records

Of over 8 million adult primary care patients, 4,053 had Down syndrome Only a small percentage of patients overall were tested for SARS-CoV-2 during the study period

But among those who died during this time, COVID-19 was a common cause, especially among people with Down syndrome Overall, 68 people with the disease died, 40% of those deaths being attributed to COVID-19

Among people without Down’s syndrome, there were 41,685 deaths, 20% of which attributed to COVID-19, according to the study

Adults with Down syndrome often live in group residences, which could increase their chances of exposure to the coronavirus But living conditions, as well as medical conditions, were only part of the risk higher COVID-19 observed in study

« Young people with Down syndrome have a predisposition to viral respiratory tract infections, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, » she said « So there may be some common mechanisms here which require further investigation »

Since the study only included adults, it is not clear whether children with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, compared to other children

« In general, it seems the risks of COVID-19 for children are lower [compared to adults], » Hippisley-Cox said « But the exact risks for children with Down syndrome should be considered very carefully « 

Espinosa said people with Down syndrome and their families should pay attention to prevention, which includes following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks And if they test positive for the infection, he said, they should be closely monitored and taken to hospital if they have breathing problems.

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Down syndrome, coronavirus, medicine

News from the world – UK – People with Down syndrome are at higher risk of severe COVID-19
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