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28-02-2022 | COVID-19 | News

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SLE disease activity, glucocorticoid use linked to more severe COVID-19 outcomes

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: Active or untreated systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and glucocorticoid use are associated with an increased risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes, suggest study results from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance (GRA).

A total of 1606 individuals with SLE and COVID-19 who were included in the GRA or EULAR COVID-19 registries between March 2020 and June 2021 were categorized into four groups of COVID-19 severity. These were: not hospitalized (69.6%); hospitalized without oxygen (10.5%); hospitalized with supplementary oxygen or ventilation (13.3%); and death (6.5%).

In a multivariable analysis, the 77 people with severe or high SLE disease activity and the 229 with moderate disease activity were significantly more likely to fall into a greater COVID-19 severity category than the 587 in remission, with odds ratios (ORs) of 3.94 and 1.61, respectively.

Also associated with greater COVID-19 severity were glucocorticoid doses of 1–5 mg/day (OR=1.86), 6–9 mg/day (OR=2.47), and 10 mg/day or higher (OR=1.95) versus no use and no treatment for SLE (OR=1.80) versus antimalarials.

“In addition to these factors specific to SLE, our findings also highlight that many factors associated with more severe COVID-19 outcomes in the general population are important in SLE, including male gender, age and comorbidity burden,” write Manuel Ugarte-Gil (Universidad Cientifica del Sur, Lima, Peru) and colleagues in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

They conclude: “Individuals with lupus and these characteristics should be prioritised for close monitoring, counselled to receive vaccination, and receive preventive therapies if infected with SARS-CoV2.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2022 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

28 February 2022: 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.

Ann Rheum Dis 2022 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2021-221636


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