Antipsychotic drugs may provide Covid-19 protection

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ANTIPSYCHOTIC drugs may reduce the activation of genes involved in inflammatory and immunological pathways associated with severe SARS-CoV-2 infections.

A group of researchers — led by scientists from the Mental Health Unit of the Virgen del Rocio University Hospital in Seville, Spain — have found that antipsychotic drugs could have a protective effect against Covid-19.

People treated with these drugs may have a lower risk of contracting the virus or may have milder symptoms if they do get the virus.

Some of the findings appear in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
“These are very interesting findings that reflect a clinical reality where we see few patients with severe Covid-19, despite the presence of various risk factors,” says Manuel Canal Rivero, a clinical psychologist and lead author of one of the two papers.

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Many researchers have spent the past year studying whether or not individuals with severe mental health conditions might be more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2 and develop severe symptoms from Covid-19.

In the issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin published April 28, 2020, a team from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, discussed why they believed people with schizophrenia and related disorders were likely to have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2.

They pointed to features of the condition, such as experiencing hallucinations and possessing a lower awareness of risk.

They added that living in crowded settings, such as congregate housing or prisons, where social distancing is difficult, may increase the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2.

The team wrote that they believed individuals with schizophrenia and related disorders would be more likely to have poor outcomes from Covid-19.

This is because they are more likely to have poor physical health, are disadvantaged socioeconomically, and experience stigma and social isolation. Scientists believe that these factors likely elevate mortality from Covid-19.

People with severe mental illness are more likely to have conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.

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