Risk factors for more severe COVID-19 and potentially protective factors appear on this year’s list of most-read clinical COVID-19 articles.
As the pandemic continues to take a toll around the world, a look back at the most popular clinical COVID-19 news published in 2021 highlights some recurring themes, including complications associated with the disease and potential protections.
5. Immunosuppressive Psoriatic Drugs and COVID-19
In June, authors writing in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology concluded immunosuppressed patients with psoriasis are not at an increased risk of developing serious complications related to COVID-19. The opinion piece also posits that these medications may help mitigate potential issues, as immunosuppressive drugs manage levels of patients’ cytokines and have the potential to control “cytokine storms.”
4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Associated With Higher Risks of COVID-19 Complications
Study findings published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research published in January showed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to be an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19 resulting in hospitalization. OSA is also linked with other severe COVID-19 risk factors, including body mass index, diabetes, older age, and male gender. Patients included in the study who were transferred to critical care units also exhibited higher levels of C-reactive protein and procalcitonin than those who were not.
3. COVID-19–Triggered Psoriatic Arthritis
Doctors in Italy reported the first known case of COVID-19–triggered psoriatic arthritis in January 2021. The patient in question was genetically predisposed to the disease, while a small number of arthritis cases were simultaneously reportedly tied to COVID-19. The patient who developed psoriatic arthritis had a family history of psoriasis, although no family members exhibited joint-related issues.
2. Flu Vaccine May Have Protective Effects Against COVID-19
Reported in February, data showed those immunized against influenza were less 24% likely to test positive for COVID-19. These individuals were also less likely to have serious COVID-19–related complications. The study, published in American Journal of Infection Control, was the first to explore any association between standard influenza vaccines and COVID-19. Associations remained significant after adjusting for baseline covariates.
1. COVID-19 Symptoms Can Persist After 6 Months
More than 1 in 4 patients hospitalized in Wuhan, China, with COVID-19 reported fatigue, muscle weakness, and sleep difficulties 6 months later. The research, published in January 2021, also showed more than 75% of patients reported at least 1 persistent symptom of COVID-19. All individuals were hospitalized between January 2020 and May 2020 and had a median age of 57. Additional symptoms reported after 6 months included depression and anxiety.