In DepthCOVID-19

People with Down syndrome face high risk from coronavirus

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Science  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6523, pp. 1384-1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6523.1384

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Summary

Among the groups at high risk of dying from COVID-19, people with Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, stand out: If infected, they are five times more likely to be hospitalized and 10 times more likely to die than ordinary people, according to a large study published by U.K. researchers in October. Other recent studies back up this high risk, finding that people with Down syndrome are more likely to get severely ill in the hospital—and that their risk of dying from COVID-19 climbs alarmingly once they hit 40 years old. Researchers suspect an out-of-whack immune system combined with an extra copy of chromosome 21, which causes Down syndrome, are key drivers of their vulnerability. And they are calling for people with the condition, especially those 40 and older, to be prioritized for vaccination.

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