Adults with Down syndrome are more likely to die from COVID 19 than the general population, which supports the need to focus on immunizing individuals with the genetic disorder, as per a study published in The Lancet's EClinical Medicine by an international team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University.
Down syndrome also known as Trisomy 21, is a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome which causes physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities.
"Our results, which are based on more than 1,000 COVID-19 unique patients with Down syndrome, show that individuals with Down syndrome often have more severe symptoms at hospitalization and experience high rates of lung complications associated with increased mortality. These results have implications for preventive and clinical management of COVID-19 patients with Down syndrome and emphasize the need to prioritize individuals with Down syndrome for vaccination", says Anke Huels, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, and the study's first author.
It was found that adults with Down syndrome were roughly three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. This increased risk was especially apparent in the fifth decade of life: A 40-year-old with Down syndrome had a similar risk of dying from COVID-19 as someone 30 years older in the general population.
"We are delighted to see that, partly based on our findings, the CDC included Down syndrome in the list of 'high-risk medical conditions,' which will prioritize those with this genetic condition for vaccination. Similar decisions have been made in the United Kingdom and Spain, and we hope that other countries will soon follow," says co-author Alberto Costa, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.