People infected with the new coronavirus and suffering from schizophrenia are 2.7 times more likely to die from covid-19 than those who do not have the mental disorder, according to a study by New York University (NYU) in the United States , published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry last Wednesday (27).
This finding places psychiatric disorder as the second most dangerous risk factor for the disease that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide, behind only age – older people are more likely to experience complications after contracting the virus.
According to the professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine Donald Goff, the result of the research was expected, but it was nonetheless surprising. Previous studies have already indicated a link between psychiatric disorders and the increased risk of death in the case of covid-19, but have not uncovered the relationship between schizophrenia and the coronavirus.
One of the possibilities raised by him is that the disease known to affect mood and perception of reality or any of the drugs used to treat it is disturbing the immune system, facilitating the action of Sars-CoV-2. However, there is still no definitive proof of this.
To reach this conclusion, the NYU researchers analyzed a total of 7,348 records of adults with covid-19 in New York, seen at 260 clinics and four hospitals, between March 3 and May 31 last year, at the peak pandemic in the city.
Of this total, 14% of patients were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and were divided into three groups: those suffering from schizophrenia, those suffering from anxiety and those with mood disorders. Next, the researchers compared their data with those of those infected without such disorders, calculating patient mortality rates within 45 days after testing positive.