A recent study found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to die from COVID-19 than people with heart disease and diabetes.

About the study: 7,348 adult patients were observed for 45 days following confirmed exposure to COVID-19.

  • The results of patients with diagnosed schizophrenia, mood disorders and anxiety disorders were compared against a group without psychiatric disorders, reported the study.
  • The researchers found that after being infected with COVID, “a premorbid diagnosis of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder was significantly associated with mortality.”

What does this mean? “This is a really rare opportunity to study the potential relationship between the immune system and psychiatric illness, by looking at the effects of a single virus at a single point in time,” said Katlyn Nemani, the senior author of the study.

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  • “It could potentially lead to interventions that improve medical conditions that are associated with disease, but also our understanding of the illness itself and what we should be doing to treat it,” said Nemani to NPR.
  • Over time the study of the correlation between COVID-19 and schizophrenia could possibly lead to new immunological treatments that might work better than current antipsychotic drugs, according to NPR.
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Advocacy for better health care for those with severe psychiactic disorders: In other countries, people with serious mental illness were added on the priority vaccination list early in the process.

  • In the U.S. it wasn’t until people were getting booster shots in October that people with schizophrenia were added to that list, reported NPR.
  • Scientists say that as the connection between COVID-19 and schizophrenia becomes more clear, mental health must be more than an afterthought, according to NPR.
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