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01-02-2021 | COVID-19 | News

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COVID-19 may be a risk factor for rheumatic disease flare

Claire Barnard

medwireNews: Having COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk for flare among Latino patients with rheumatic diseases, researchers report.

The team analyzed data from 32 patients at a US rheumatology clinic who developed COVID-19 in April–October 2020, all of whom were of Latino ethnicity, while 146 Latino patients without COVID-19 symptoms were selected as the control group. Rheumatoid arthritis was the most common diagnosis in both groups (44–50%), followed by systemic lupus erythematosus (25–30%).

As reported in Arthritis & Rheumatology, 25% of patients experienced a rheumatic disease flare following COVID-19, compared with just 5% of those in the control group, translating into a significant 4.6-fold elevated flare risk among people with COVID-19 on multivariate analysis.

These findings suggest that “[r]heumatologists should follow patients reporting COVID-19 closely during the post-infection period in anticipation of a potential rheumatic disease flare,” say Pravitt Gourh (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA) and co-authors.

The researchers also investigated risk factors linked to COVID-19 susceptibility in their cohort, finding that a BMI of more than 30.35 kg/m2 was associated with a significantly increased risk for infection. There were no significant associations between different drug treatments for rheumatic disease – including biologics, Janus kinase inhibitors, and conventional DMARDs – and COVID-19 susceptibility.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

1 February 2021: 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.

Arthritis Rheumatol 2021; doi:10.1002/art.41656

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