How people with autoimmune diseases are affected by COVID-19

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:08 PM CDT
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Ongoing news coverage of COVID-19 over the last few months has continuously featured experts referencing how people with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma are at increased risk for severe complications from the virus.

But what about patients with rare autoimmune diseases like one called MG?

Joining Holly Chilsen on the Deep Bench is Dr. Erika Greene and Rachel Higgins, a patient living with MG.

An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system decides a molecule or protein is foreign and rejects it. MG can cause fatigue, trouble swallowing and even breathing. People with autoimmune diseases often must take immunosuppressants to stop the reaction. This means they may have worse outcomes from COVID-19, because their bodies cannot mount a good immune response against the virus. Patients with these diseases must be especially careful to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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