The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. This virus may cause additional challenges for people who are already vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with existing health conditions. There is no evidence yet about how people with Down syndrome (DS) are affected by COVID-19.
To better understand the risk and to inform appropriate recommendations to protect individuals with DS against COVID-19, the T21RS has launched an initiative in Europe, US, Brazil, and Spanish-Speaking Latin America.
Many of the T21RS members are now part of a T21RS COVID-19 workgroup that was assembled to better understand the risk and to inform an appropriate response. Our Clinical and Science & Society Committees have spearheaded the design and implementation of an international survey of COVID-19 in Down syndrome. This will be completed by carers and clinicians caring for individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. T21RS is currently sending the survey links for distribution throughout the community. We will make our findings available at regular intervals to the entire Down syndrome community.
The survey is accompanied by an ongoing review of the relevant scientific and medical literature being undertaken by the Preclinical Committee of the T21RS. The goal is to better understand the potential roots of the vulnerability of DS individuals to viral respiratory infections in general, and whether this vulnerability translates into a specific vulnerability to COVID-19.
At T21RS, we are committed to conducting and supporting research needed to understand the following issues:
- 1) Whether individuals with DS are more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection
- 2) Whether those with DS are at an increased risk for complications arising in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection
- 3) Whether there are atypical responses to treatments of COVID-19 among individuals with DS, including their response to future vaccines