"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Autoimmune diseases and autoinflammatory diseases are increasing post-COVID

Oct. 10, 2023 – After being infected with COVID-19, persons are at much higher risk of developing autoimmune and autoinflammatory connective tissue diseases similar to alopecia, Crohn's disease, psoriasis and vitiligo, in keeping with a brand new study.

Vaccination reduces the danger, says the study from South Korea published in JAMA network opened.

The researchers examined information on greater than 350,000 COVID-19 patients from October 2020 to December 2021. They also used a control group of greater than 6.1 million people. The average age in each groups was 52 years. They were evenly divided between genders.

“Notably, certain disease risks showed a positive association with COVID-19 severity,” the researchers wrote. “Possible links between COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases… have been suggested because SARS-CoV-2 appears to disrupt self-tolerance and, through cross-reactivity, triggers autoimmune reactions that can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases.”

COVID-19 patients had a “significantly higher risk” of alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis, Crohn's disease and sarcoidosis. CIDRAP of the University of Minnesota reported.

“The risks of alopecia totalis, psoriasis, vitiligo, vasculitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, adult-onset Still's disease, Sjögren's syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, and sarcoidosis were associated with increasing severity of COVID-19,” CIDRAP wrote.

The study authors wrote that the outcomes suggest that autoimmune and autoinflammatory connective tissue diseases may occur following COVID-19 infection, highlighting the potential long-term health effects of COVID-19. Long-term treatment should include assessment of such disorders in patients with COVID-19.

Some limitations of the study include the predominantly adult population and the undeniable fact that the sample consisted entirely of Asians, which limits the generalizability of those results to other ethnic groups and adolescents/children. News Medicine reported. The researchers couldn't determine whether some people were more at risk of autoimmunity than others.