Caring for patients with rare diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Mohamed Boudjelal Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Nimer Mehyar Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Bandar Alghanem Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Faisal Almajed Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Majid Alfadhel Ministry of National Guard-Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Keywords: rare diseases, pandemic, COVID-19, MERS-CoV, vaccines, anti-viral therapy

Abstract

Rare diseases frequently attack and weaken the immune system, increasing the patient’s vulnerability to develop severe conditions after viral infections, such as COVID-19. Many patients with rare diseases also suffer from mental retardation and disability. These rare disease phenotypes do not emerge in older people who are susceptible to COVID-19 infection, but present at a very young age or at birth. These factors must be taken in consideration when caring for this vulnerable patient population during a pandemic, such as COVID-19. Patients with a rare disease have to take their regular medication continuously to control their condition and frequently, the medications, directly or indirectly, affect their immune system. It is important for this patient population, if infected with COVID-19 or another severe form of infection, to adjust the treatment protocol by specialists, in consultation with their own medical team. Special awareness and educational programs, understandable for mentally retarded patients, must be developed to educate them about social distancing, curfew, sanitization, and sensitization to the disease and quarantine. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance to reconsider the care required by patients with a rare disease during a pandemic or disaster, a program that should be adopted by the World Health Organization and governmental institutions for consideration.

Published
2021-04-30
How to Cite
1.
Boudjelal M, Mehyar N, Alghanem B, Almajed F, Alfadhel M (2021) Caring for patients with rare diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Infect Dev Ctries 15:450-462. doi: 10.3855/jidc.13214
Section
Coronavirus Pandemic