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TNF inhibitors may dampen COVID-19 severity



Other recent insights on COVID-19 in rheumatology

An as-yet unpublished U.K. observational study involving electronic health record data on 17 million people included 885,000 individuals with RA, SLE, or psoriasis. After extensive statistical controlling for the known risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection, including a measure of socioeconomic deprivation, the group with one of these autoimmune diseases had an adjusted, statistically significant 23% increased risk of hospital death because of COVID-19 infection.

“This is the largest study of its kind to date. There’s potential for unmeasured confounding and selection bias here due to who gets tested. We’ll have to see where this study lands, but I think it does suggest there’s a slightly higher mortality risk in COVID-infected patients with rheumatic disease,” according to Dr. Yazdany.

On the other hand, there have been at least eight recently published patient surveys and case series of patients with rheumatic diseases in areas of the world hardest hit by the pandemic, and they paint a consistent picture.

“What we’ve learned from these studies was the infection rate was generally in the ballpark of people in the region. It doesn’t seem like there’s a dramatically higher infection rate in people with rheumatic disease in these surveys. The hospitalized rheumatology patients had many of the familiar comorbidities. This is the first glance at how likely people are to become infected and how they fared, and I think overall the data have been quite reassuring,” she said.

Dr. Yazdany reported serving as a consultant to AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly and receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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