Down syndrome associated with 10-fold increased risk for COV
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People with Down syndrome were more likely than those without the disorder to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19-related complications, according to a new report published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

To determine whether Down syndrome is a risk factor for poor COVID-19 outcomes, researchers analyzed individual-level data from QResearch, a primary care database, on adults in the United Kingdom.

Down syndrome is a common genetic disorder that is linked to immune dysfunction, congenital heart disease and pulmonary issues, according to the researchers. However, it is not currently on the CDC’s list of populations at “increased risk” for COVID-19 complications.

Of the 8.26 million adults included in the analysis, 4,053 had Down syndrome. Among them, 68 died during the study period.

Nearly 40% of the deaths among adults with Down syndrome were attributed to COVID-19 compared with 20.3% of deaths among people without Down syndrome.

In an analysis adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, BMI, dementia, care home residency, congenital heart disease and other comorbidities and treatments, the researchers reported that people with Down syndrome and COVID-19 were about four times more likely to be hospitalized and 10 times more likely to die of COVID-19-related complications than those with COVID-19 who did not have Down syndrome.

“We are unaware of the effects of Down syndrome on COVID-19 outcomes being reported elsewhere yet during this pandemic,” researchers concluded. “Novel evidence that specific conditions may confer elevated risk should be used by public health organizations, policymakers, and health care workers to strategically protect vulnerable individuals.”