COVID-19 Could Increase the Risk of Autoimmune Disorders

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A new study has found that people who’ve had COVID-19 may be at higher risk for developing new autoimmune disorders than individuals who’ve never had this viral illness.

The research, published October 6 in JAMA Network Open, concluded that infection with the coronavirus increased the likelihood of developing a number of autoimmune disorders, including alopecia areata and alopecia totalis, marked by hair loss; ANCA-associated vasculitis, involving inflammation of the small blood vessels; the gut disorder Crohn’s disease; and sarcoidosis, characterized by nodules in the lungs or lymph nodes.

These findings support earlier research suggesting that the body’s immune response to COVID-19 plays a role in triggering certain autoimmune conditions, says the study’s first author, Sung Ha Lim, a researcher and physician in the department of dermatology at the Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea.

Unvaccinated People Were at Higher Risk for Autoimmune Diseases

Notably, when analyzed by COVID-19 vaccination status, the unvaccinated people in the study were more susceptible to certain autoimmune diseases than the vaccinated people.

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