Increased risk of chronic fatigue and hair loss following COVID-19 in individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia

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Background: Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) is a group of genodermatoses in which deficient ectodysplasin A signalling leads to maldevelopment of skin appendages, various eccrine glands, and teeth. Individuals with HED often have disrupted epithelial barriers and, therefore, were suspected to be more susceptible to coronavirus infection. Methods: 56 households with at least one member who had coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) were enrolled in a longitudinal study to compare the course of illness, immune responses, and long-term consequences of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in HED patients (n = 15, age 9–52 years) and control subjects of the same age group (n = 149). Results: In 14 HED patients, mild or moderate typical COVID-19 symptoms were observed that lasted for 4–45 days. Fever during the first days sometimes required external cooling measures. The course of COVID-19 was similar to that in control subjects if patients developed antibodies blocking the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Five out of six HED patients with completely abrogated ectodysplasin A signalling (83%) suffered from chronic, in two cases very severe fatigue following COVID-19, while only 25% of HED patients with residual activity of this pathway and 21% of control subjects recovering from COVID-19 experienced postinfectious fatigue. Hair loss after COVID-19 was also more frequent among HED patients (64%) than in the control group (13%). Conclusions: HED appears to be associated with an increased risk of long-term consequences of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Preventive vaccination against COVID-19 should be recommended for individuals affected by this rare genetic disorder.




Hennig, V., Schuh, W., Neubert, A., Mielenz, D., Jäck, H. M., & Schneider, H. (2021). Increased risk of chronic fatigue and hair loss following COVID-19 in individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 16(1).

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