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20-04-2020 | COVID-19 | News

First data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance released

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: The COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance has released preliminary data on 110 individuals with rheumatic disease and comorbid COVID-19.

“We present proof-of-principle that, with global cooperation, the rapid collection of data during an international crisis is possible,” Milena Gianfrancesco (University of California San Francisco, USA) and colleagues write in The Lancet Rheumatology.

As of 1 April 2020, the cohort of 110 individuals from six continents comprised mostly women (72%), and 18% of patients were aged over 65 years. Rheumatoid arthritis was the most common primary rheumatic disease, affecting 36% of patients, followed by psoriatic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, each affecting 17%.

The most frequently occurring comorbidities were hypertension (28%), lung disease (20%), cardiovascular disease (11%), severe obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2; 8%), and diabetes (8%).

The majority of patients were taking conventional DMARDs at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, at 63%, while 45% were receiving biologic DMARDs and 5% Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticoids were each taken by 25% of the cohort.

Gianfrancesco and co-authors report that fever and cough were the most prevalent COVID-19 symptoms at disease onset, occurring in 79% and 77% of patients, respectively. Half of the cohort experienced shortness of breath, 45% myalgia, and 37% sore throat. A total of 35% were admitted to hospital and 5% died.

“Over time, the registry aims to examine differences in severity of outcomes by sociodemographic and rheumatic disease characteristics, medications taken before diagnosis of COVID-19, and medications administered on diagnosis,” says the Alliance.

And the team concludes: “Information from this database will provide timely and responsive real-world data where large literature gaps exist, informing providers of treatment patterns for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, and offering a better understanding of possible risk factors associated with severe outcomes in the rheumatic disease population.”

In an accompanying editorial representing the views of the journal, The Lancet Rheumatology says that the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance represents “[u]nity amidst uncertainty.”

“The evidence from this collaborative effort should allow rheumatologists to offer better-informed responses to their patients’ questions.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

20 April 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Lancet Rheumatol 2020; doi:10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30095-3
Lancet Rheumatol 2020; doi:10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30082-5