Pathogens. 2023 Feb 3;12(2):242. doi: 10.3390/pathogens12020242.
The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on people living with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is unknown. The aim of this study is to evaluate the COVID-19 risk factors and outcomes of HTLV-1-infected individuals. A retrospective study of seropositive HTLV-1 outpatients seen during the COVID-19 pandemic period (2020-2022) was conducted in a Tertiary Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We compared the demographic and comorbidity/risk factors in patients with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 diagnoses. In addition, the clinical features of COVID-19 and vaccination status were also investigated in 51 HTLV-1-infected individuals. The majority (88.2%) had COVID-19 comorbidity/risk factors. Seven cases were vaccinated against COVID-19. Overall, 19 out of 51 (37.3%) individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19. We found differences only in the frequency of anxiety in both groups: 57.9% in the COVID-19 group vs. 15.6% in the non-COVID-19 (p < 0.05) group. Thirteen out of nineteen (68%) of the COVID-19 cases progressed to mild/moderate illness, one remained asymptomatic, and 26.3% progressed to severe illness. All of the individuals recovered at home, but the majority (57.9%) developed post-COVID-19 symptoms: anosmia and ageusia (31.6%), worsening anxiety (15.8%), and a feeling of pain in the legs (15.8%). The patients with post-COVID-19 conditions were unvaccinated. Our findings show that HTLV-1 did not increase the risk of lethal COVID-19 and underline the importance of promoting mental health in HTLV-1-infected individuals.