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MONDAY, Oct. 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Adults with Down syndrome have an increased risk for COVID-19-related death, according to a research letter published online Oct. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ashley Kieran Clift, M.B.B.S., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined Down syndrome as a risk factor for death from COVID-19 through an analysis of data from 8.26 million adults during Jan. 24 to June 30, 2020.

The researchers found that 4,053 of the adults in the study cohort had Down syndrome. Of those with Down syndrome, 68 persons died: 39.7, 25.0, and 35.3 percent of COVID-19, pneumonia or pneumonitis, and other causes, respectively. Of the 8,252,105 persons without Down syndrome, 41,685 died: 20.3, 14.4, and 65.3 percent of COVID-19, pneumonia or pneumonitis, and other causes, respectively. The hazard ratio for COVID-19-related death in adults with versus without Down syndrome was 24.94 after adjustment for age and sex. After further adjustment for ethnicity, body mass index, dementia diagnosis, care home residency, and a range of comorbid conditions and treatments, the hazard ratios for COVID-19-related death and hospitalization were 10.39 and 4.94, respectively.

“We are unaware of the effects of Down syndrome on COVID-19 outcomes being reported elsewhere yet during this pandemic,” the authors write. “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.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical technology industry.

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