Researchers suggest that immunodeficient patients with lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) such as Pompe disease (PD) do not have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 infection in comparison to the healthy population, as published in Archives de Pediatrie. While the potential increase in risk for COVID-19 in these patients is emphasized in the literature, this study provides real-life clinical data.
The immunity status and subsequent course of COVID-19 infection in patients with LSDs, particularly Gaucher’s disease, Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), and PD, were assessed. While both LSDs and COVID-19 share a similar immune activation pathway, a more severe hyperimmune response is induced by the latter.
However, the accumulation of glycolipids in patients with LSDs might spark immune tolerance, thereby creating a potential resistance to COVID-19 infection. Overall, out of the 269 patients with Gaucher’s disease, MPS, and PD that were being followed at the Cukurova University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey, only 4 patients had a history of nonsevere COVID-19 infection.
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Immunosuppressive patients are not immune to COVID-19, however, it is evident from the results of this study that the presence of an immunosuppressive condition alone is not an indicator of poor prognosis in COVID-19 infection. Most patients with LSDs showed mild symptoms when infected with the virus and this study highlights how such patients could serve as a source for a viral spread as they are usually undiagnosed.
Further research and investigation of lysosome biology in hosts is another important aspect raised by the team to establish the various patterns of LSDs. This will help identify the vulnerability to COVID-19 infection, which may potentially help create a cure against the virus.
The frequency of COVID-19 infection was low in all patients receiving enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), and the team encourages further research regarding the extent to which ERT contributes to the vulnerability to COVID-19 severity.
Kilavuz S, Kor D, Bulut FD, et al. Real-world patient data on immunity and COVID-19 status of patients with MPS, Gaucher, and Pompe diseases from Turkey. Arch Pediatr. Published online May 23, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.arcped.2022.05.003