Over the past year, studies have found that certain pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, may increase the risk of dying from COVID-19. New research shows people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) – around 38 million worldwide, according to the World Health Organization – have an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and fatal results from COVID-19.
In a new study, published in Scientific reports, Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that people living with HIV had a 24% higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and a 78% higher risk of death from COVID-19 than people without HIV. They assessed data from 22 previous studies that included nearly 21 million participants in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia to determine how susceptible people living with HIV / AIDS are to the infection. by SARS-CoV-2 and death by COVID-19.
The majority of participants (66%) were men and the median age was 56 years. The most common comorbidities among the HIV-positive population were hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic renal failure. The majority of patients living with HIV / AIDS (96%) were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), which suppresses the amount of HIV detected in the body.
“Previous studies were not conclusive that HIV is a risk factor for susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and poor outcome in populations with COVID-19,” said the Dr Paddy Ssentongo, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor at the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. “This is because a large majority of people living with HIV / AIDS are on ART, some of which have been used experimentally to treat COVID-19.”
According to researchers, certain pre-existing conditions are common in people living with HIV / AIDS, which may contribute to the severity of their cases of COVID-19. The beneficial effects of antiviral drugs, such as astenofovir and protease inhibitors, in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and death from COVID-19 in people living with HIV / AIDS, are inconclusive.
“As the pandemic evolved, we obtained enough information to characterize the epidemiology of HIV / SARS-CoV-2 co-infection, which could not be done at the start. pandemic due to the scarcity of data, ”said Vernon Chinchilli, fellow researcher and director of the Department of Public Health Sciences. “Our findings support current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prioritize people living with HIV to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Emily Heilbrunn, Anna Ssentongo and Jonathan Nunez of Penn State College of Medicine; Ping Du of Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Shailesh Advani of Georgetown University also contributed to this research. The researchers do not declare any conflict of interest.
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the FDA.
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Material provided by Penn State. Original written by Tracy Cox. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.