Could Scabies Save you from COVID-19?

There is brand new research out of France, and the results are just astounding. 

The research is by Bernigaud et al. and is published in the Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie (December 2020, available online November 25)

In the department of Seine-et-Marne, there was a scabies outbreak in early March with 121 people, either having scabies, or at high risk of getting it.

But there was also, in parallel, a COVID-19 outbreak in the same group of people.

None died from COVID-19, and neither from scabies of course.

So could scabies save you from COVID-19? 

The 121 people community was actually a nursing home / aged care facility (EHPAD – Établissement d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes).

There were 69 residents, with a very high median age of 90, and 52 staff.

Given their advanced age, the 69 residents were at considerable risk of dying from COVID-19.

According to the research, 7 residents and 4 staff got a certain or highly likely COVID-19 diagnosis, confirmed by PCR testing.

Ten out of those 11 patients got a mild form of COVID-19, without any need for oxygen or hospitalization,

No-one died from COVID-19 out of these 11 patients.

The research compares this group with data from 45 nursing homes from the same Department of Seine-et-Marne.

In those nursing homes, used as control, there was an average mortality from COVID-19 of 4.9% among residents, versus 0% in the studied nursing home.

Could scabies explain this reduced mortality from COVID-19?

Here is what the researchers came up with as an explanation …

They present their research as an “example of serendipity,” i.e. an example of unplanned, yet fortunate, discovery.

What happened?

One resident from the nursing home got an acute infection of scabies, and was hospitalized.

Three other residents also got scabies, but in a milder form, and did not require hospitalization.

These residents infected with scabies received a treatment, but so were also, as a preventative measure, all the other residents, and all the staff.

The whole group of 121 individuals, being either residents or staff, received a treatment of …


You may want to check this compendium of studies about Ivermectin and COVID-19: as well as our August (i.e. not up to date) overview article.

Note this other scabies nursing home story, this one having occurred in Ontario.