An observational study of 599 survivors of COVID-19 was conducted at the Papa Giovanni Hospital in Bergamo, Italy three months after hospital admission. The patients were evaluated for thyroglobulin antibodies, autoimmunity thyroperoxidase antibodies, and thyroid function. If antibody concentration was identified, the team performed a thyroid ultrasound.
The new autoimmunity stats were then analyzed against 498 diseases identified as non-thyroid that were submitted to the team. Out of this group (cohort), 330 patients with COVID-19 were compared against 330 patients matched for sex and age.
The team eliminated ICU admission, hospitalization, respiratory support, and treatment for COVID-19 as not being related to thyroid autoimmunity.
Conversely, the prevalence of autoimmunity thyroperoxidase antibodies was greater (15.7%) in survivors of COVID-19 than in the control group which was 7.7%.
Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid gland, was found in 94% of patients who carried positive antibodies.
A thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH, was found to be in the normal range in 95% of patients presenting with positive antibodies.
SARS-CoV-2 has been found to play a role in advancing thyroid autoimmunity. The prevalence of thyroid disease in COVID-19 survivors was double the number of patients in the control group.