COVID-19 in People With Schizophrenia: Potential Mechanisms Linking Schizophrenia to Poor Prognosis
As the global burden of mortality from COVID-19 continues to rise, an understanding of who is most at risk of adverse outcomes is of paramount importance. Pre-existing cardiometabolic, renal and respiratory diseases as well as old age are well-established risk factors associated with disease severity and mortality among patients with COVID-19. However, mounting evidence also indicates an increased susceptibility to, and risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19 in people with schizophrenia, independent of age and comorbidity. Therefore, elucidating the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms which may increase the risk of poor outcomes in people with schizophrenia is of crucial importance. Here, we provide a narrative on the current understanding of COVID-19 in patients with schizophrenia and propose potential mechanisms which may link schizophrenia with an increased susceptibility to, and greater risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19. Given the existing knowledge gaps, robust clinical and biological studies are required to further our understanding of some of these underlying mechanisms, so that effective prevention and treatment strategies for COVID-19 in patients with schizophrenia can be developed.