International Psoriasis Council

Advancing Knowledge. Enhancing Care.

Advancing Knowledge. Enhancing Care.

Commentary: Genetic studies suggest that inflammatory skin diseases increase the risk of COVID-19

computer with words expert commentary

Francesca Capon, PhD
King’s College London
London, UK
IPC Councilor


Associations between COVID-19 and skin conditions identified through epidemiology and genomic studies. Matthew T. Patrick, MEng PhD, Haihan Zhang, MS, Rachael Wasikowski, MS, Errol P. Prens, MD, PhD, Stephan Weidinger, MD, PhD, Johann E. Gudjonsson, MD, PhD, James T. Elder, MD, PhD, Kevin He, PhD, and Lam C. Tsoi, PhD. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2021 Jan 21 doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2021.01.006 [Epub ahead of print]


Genetic studies suggest that inflammatory skin diseases increase the risk of COVID-19.

An article recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology1 suggests that diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis increase the risk of COVID-19 by approximately 50%. The authors of the study (Lam Tsoi and collaborators, University of Michigan) examined the medical records of 435,000 individuals, 1115 of whom had been diagnosed with COVID-19. After adjusting their analysis for the age, ethnicity, body mass index, and socioeconomic status of participants, they found that having an inflammatory skin disorder (acne, atopic dermatitis, or psoriasis) conferred an increased risk of COVID-19 while reducing the likelihood of requiring mechanical ventilation.

The authors next analyzed publicly available expression data and observed a significant overlap between the genes that are up-regulated in inflammatory skin diseases and those that are induced by SARS-CoV2 infection in bronchial epithelial cells. Of note, the shared genes were mostly involved in epidermal barrier function and innate antiviral responses.

In the final stage of the study, the authors re-examined published genome-wide association studies and found a marker that was associated with susceptibility to both psoriasis and COVID-19. Interestingly, the variant maps in proximity to S100A12, a gene that is up-regulated in psoriatic lesions and in SARS-CoV2 infected cells.

These observations suggest a link between skin inflammation and COVID-19 susceptibility. The authors speculate that in individuals with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, SARS-CoV2 could enter the organism through the skin, exploiting defects in epidermal barrier function. Progression to severe disease would then be hindered by the activation of immune responses at sites of inflammation. While these hypotheses could be tested in animal models, the authors acknowledge that the underlying observations will need to be replicated in further genetic and epidemiological studies.


Associations between COVID-19 and skin conditions identified through epidemiology and genomic studies. MT Patrick et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Epub ahead of print: 20th Jan 2021. DOI:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Recent Posts

PASI 90 blog post with Dr. Maskin

Access to Biologics in Argentina: Rethinking Time to PASI 90

Blog Post - Psoriasis Hub

IPC Partners with Scientific Education Support to Create New Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Hub

Blog -Expert Insights-Erica-Alba (1)

Monkeypox Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, and Impact on Psoriasis Patients

Also Read

Enikö Sonkoly

Focus on Psoriasis: A Report from the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 31st Annual Congress (EADV)

The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) organized its 31st congress in Milano, Italy, under the parole “Designing the Future of Dermatology and Venereology.” The event took place from September 7 – 10, 2022, as a hybrid meeting with the option of attending virtually or in person. The following congress report includes fifteen summaries of presentations focusing on psoriasis. You can download the full report or read the summary.

Read More
Filip Rob Commentary graphic

Commentary: Deucravacitinib Versus Placebo and Apremilast in Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis: Efficacy and Safety Results from the 52-week, Randomized, Double-blinded, Placebo-controlled Phase 3 POETYK PSO-1 Trial

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved deucravacitinib to treat psoriasis. Recently, 52-week efficacy and safety data of deucravacitinib were compared and contrasted with placebo and apremilast. The outcome of this comparative study lends support for the position of deucravacitinib in the spectrum of treatments for psoriasis.

Read More
Blog - Commentary - Alexander Egeberg - graphic

Commentary: Drug Survival Associated with Effectiveness and Safety of Treatment with Guselkumab, Ixekizumab, Secukinumab, Ustekinumab, and Adalimumab in Patients with Psoriasis

Real-world evidence studies become crucial to achieving the evidence needed in clinical practice. But how are data evaluated in the complexity of the real world? Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD, DMSc, discusses a present study that examined drug survival among 16,122 treatment courses of biologic therapy with either guselkumab, ixekizumab, secukinumab, ustekinumab, or adalimumab, using United Kingdom registry data.

Read More

Subscribe to the IPC Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on the latest research, news, and upcoming events right in your inbox.