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1.
Rheumatol Adv Pract ; 6(1): rkab095, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713732

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown and ongoing restrictions in the UK affected access to clinical care, self-management and mental health for many patients with inflammatory arthritis. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of lockdown on inflammatory arthritis clinical care, self-management, disease outcomes and mental health. METHODS: In total, 338 people with inflammatory arthritis participated in a prospective study, completing a series of online questionnaires. The questionnaires assessed demographics, inflammatory arthritis condition and management, clinical care, quality of life and mental health. Visual analogue scales (VASs) were completed at each assessment. Linear regression, controlling for confounders, was conducted to determine factors associated with physical and mental health outcomes. RESULTS: More than half of participants reported worsening VAS by >10 points for patient global assessment (PGA), pain, fatigue and emotional distress during the initial lockdown. Changes in clinical care were associated with worse PGA (b = 8.95, P = 0.01), pain (b = 7.13, P = 0.05), fatigue (b = 17.01, P < 0.01) and emotional distress (b = 12.78, P < 0.01). Emotional distress and depression were also associated with worse outcomes in PGA, pain and fatigue, whereas loneliness was not. In contrast, physical activity seemed to mitigate these effects. Loneliness did not show any associations with outcomes. Over time, these effects decreased or disappeared. CONCLUSION: Changes to clinical care owing to lockdown were associated with worse disease outcomes in patients with inflammatory arthritis. There has also been a clear impact on mental health, with possibly complex relationships between mental health and psychosocial factors. Physical activity emerged as a key influence on disease outcomes and mental health.

2.
Rheumatology advances in practice ; 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1602546

ABSTRACT

Objectives The COVID-19 lockdown and ongoing restrictions in the UK affected access to clinical care, self-management, and mental health for many patients with Inflammatory Arthritis (IA). This study aimed to determine the impact of lockdown on IA clinical care, self-management, disease outcomes, and mental health. Methods In total, 338 people with IA participated in a prospective study completing a series of online questionnaires. The questionnaires assessed demographics, IA condition and management, clinical care, quality of life, and mental health. Visual analogue scales (VAS) were completed at each assessment. Linear regression, controlling for confounders, was conducted to determine factors associated with physical and mental health outcomes. Results Over half of participants reported worsening VAS by more than 10 points for Patient Global Assessment (PGA), pain, fatigue, and emotional distress during the initial lockdown. Changes in clinical care were associated with worse PGA (b = 8.95, p = 0.01), pain (b = 7.13, p = 0.05), fatigue (b = 17.01, p < 0.01) and emotional distress (b = 12.78, p < 0.01). Emotional distress and depression were also associated with worse outcomes in PGA, pain, and fatigue, while loneliness was not. In contrast, physical activity seemed to mitigate these effects. Loneliness did not show any associations with outcomes. Over time, these effects decreased or disappeared. Conclusions Changes to clinical care due to lockdown were associated with worse disease outcomes in patients with IA. There has been a clear impact on mental health as well, with possibly complex relationships between mental health and psychosocial factors. Physical activity emerged as a key influence on disease outcomes and mental health.

3.
Lancet Rheumatol ; 4(1): e42-e52, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1595648

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 vaccines have robust immunogenicity in the general population. However, data for individuals with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases who are taking immunosuppressants remains scarce. Our previously published cohort study showed that methotrexate, but not targeted biologics, impaired functional humoral immunity to a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), whereas cellular responses were similar. Here, we aimed to assess immune responses following the second dose. METHODS: In this longitudinal cohort study, we recruited individuals with psoriasis who were receiving methotrexate or targeted biological monotherapy (ie, tumour necrosis factor [TNF] inhibitors, interleukin [IL]-17 inhibitors, or IL-23 inhibitors) from a specialist psoriasis centre serving London and South-East England. The healthy control cohort were volunteers without psoriasis, not receiving immunosuppression. Immunogenicity was evaluated immediately before, on day 28 after the first BNT162b2 vaccination and on day 14 after the second dose (administered according to an extended interval regimen). Here, we report immune responses following the second dose. The primary outcomes were humoral immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, defined as titres of total spike-specific IgG and of neutralising antibody to wild-type, alpha (B.1.1.7), and delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variants, and cellular immunity defined as spike-specific T-cell responses (including numbers of cells producing interferon-γ, IL-2, IL-21). FINDINGS: Between Jan 14 and April 4, 2021, 121 individuals were recruited, and data were available for 82 participants after the second vaccination. The study population included patients with psoriasis receiving methotrexate (n=14), TNF inhibitors (n=19), IL-17 inhibitors (n=14), IL-23 inhibitors (n=20), and 15 healthy controls, who had received both vaccine doses. The median age of the study population was 44 years (IQR 33-52), with 43 (52%) males and 71 (87%) participants of White ethnicity. All participants had detectable spike-specific antibodies following the second dose, and all groups (methotrexate, targeted biologics, and healthy controls) demonstrated similar neutralising antibody titres against wild-type, alpha, and delta variants. By contrast, a lower proportion of participants on methotrexate (eight [62%] of 13, 95% CI 32-86) and targeted biologics (37 [74%] of 50, 60-85; p=0·38) had detectable T-cell responses following the second vaccine dose, compared with controls (14 [100%] of 14, 77-100; p=0·022). There was no difference in the magnitude of T-cell responses between patients receiving methotrexate (median cytokine-secreting cells per 106 cells 160 [IQR 10-625]), targeted biologics (169 [25-503], p=0·56), and controls (185 [133-328], p=0·41). INTERPRETATION: Functional humoral immunity (ie, neutralising antibody responses) at 14 days following a second dose of BNT162b2 was not impaired by methotrexate or targeted biologics. A proportion of patients on immunosuppression did not have detectable T-cell responses following the second dose. The longevity of vaccine-elicited antibody responses is unknown in this population. FUNDING: NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London; The Psoriasis Association.

4.
Ann Rheum Dis ; 80(10): 1286-1298, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406632

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite growing interest, there is no guidance or consensus on how to conduct clinical trials and observational studies in populations at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: An European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) task force formulated four research questions to be addressed by systematic literature review (SLR). The SLR results informed consensus statements. One overarching principle, 10 points to consider (PTC) and a research agenda were proposed. Task force members rated their level of agreement (1-10) for each PTC. RESULTS: Epidemiological and demographic characteristics should be measured in all clinical trials and studies in at-risk individuals. Different at-risk populations, identified according to clinical presentation, were defined: asymptomatic, musculoskeletal symptoms without arthritis and early clinical arthritis. Study end-points should include the development of subclinical inflammation on imaging, clinical arthritis, RA and subsequent achievement of arthritis remission. Risk factors should be assessed at baseline and re-evaluated where appropriate; they include genetic markers and autoantibody profiling and additionally clinical symptoms and subclinical inflammation on imaging in those with symptoms and/or clinical arthritis. Trials should address the effect of the intervention on risk factors, as well as progression to clinical arthritis or RA. In patients with early clinical arthritis, pharmacological intervention has the potential to prevent RA development. Participants' knowledge of their RA risk may inform their decision to participate; information should be provided using an individually tailored approach. CONCLUSION: These consensus statements provide data-driven guidance for rheumatologists, health professionals and investigators conducting clinical trials and observational studies in individuals at risk of RA.


Subject(s)
Arthritis, Rheumatoid/prevention & control , Asymptomatic Diseases , Clinical Trials as Topic/methods , Observational Studies as Topic/methods , Antirheumatic Agents/therapeutic use , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/diagnostic imaging , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/immunology , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/therapy , Europe , Humans , Rheumatology , Risk Factors , Severity of Illness Index , Societies, Medical
5.
Lancet Rheumatol ; 3(9): e627-e637, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301109

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients on therapeutic immunosuppressants for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases were excluded from COVID-19 vaccine trials. We therefore aimed to evaluate humoral and cellular immune responses to COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) in patients taking methotrexate and commonly used targeted biological therapies, compared with healthy controls. Given the roll-out of extended interval vaccination programmes to maximise population coverage, we present findings after the first dose. METHODS: In this cohort study, we recruited consecutive patients with a dermatologist-confirmed diagnosis of psoriasis who were receiving methotrexate or targeted biological monotherapy (tumour necrosis factor [TNF] inhibitors, interleukin [IL]-17 inhibitors, or IL-23 inhibitors) from a specialist psoriasis centre serving London and South East England. Consecutive volunteers without psoriasis and not receiving systemic immunosuppression who presented for vaccination at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (London, UK) were included as the healthy control cohort. All participants had to be eligible to receive the BNT162b2 vaccine. Immunogenicity was evaluated immediately before and on day 28 (±2 days) after vaccination. The primary outcomes were humoral immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, defined as neutralising antibody responses to wild-type SARS-CoV-2, and spike-specific T-cell responses (including interferon-γ, IL-2, and IL-21) 28 days after vaccination. FINDINGS: Between Jan 14 and April 4, 2021, 84 patients with psoriasis (17 on methotrexate, 27 on TNF inhibitors, 15 on IL-17 inhibitors, and 25 on IL-23 inhibitors) and 17 healthy controls were included. The study population had a median age of 43 years (IQR 31-52), with 56 (55%) males, 45 (45%) females, and 85 (84%) participants of White ethnicity. Seroconversion rates were lower in patients receiving immunosuppressants (60 [78%; 95% CI 67-87] of 77) than in controls (17 [100%; 80-100] of 17), with the lowest rate in those receiving methotrexate (seven [47%; 21-73] of 15). Neutralising activity against wild-type SARS-CoV-2 was significantly lower in patients receiving methotrexate (median 50% inhibitory dilution 129 [IQR 40-236]) than in controls (317 [213-487], p=0·0032), but was preserved in those receiving targeted biologics (269 [141-418]). Neutralising titres against the B.1.1.7 variant were similarly low in all participants. Cellular immune responses were induced in all groups, and were not attenuated in patients receiving methotrexate or targeted biologics compared with controls. INTERPRETATION: Functional humoral immunity to a single dose of BNT162b2 is impaired by methotrexate but not by targeted biologics, whereas cellular responses are preserved. Seroconversion alone might not adequately reflect vaccine immunogenicity in individuals with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases receiving therapeutic immunosuppression. Real-world pharmacovigilance studies will determine how these findings reflect clinical effectiveness. FUNDING: UK National Institute for Health Research.

6.
Pulm Pharmacol Ther ; 69: 102035, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1209037

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global pandemic that requires a multi-faceted approach to tackle this unprecedent health crisis. Therapeutics to treat COVID-19 are an integral part of any such management strategy and there is a substantial unmet need for treatments for individuals most at risk of severe disease. This perspective review provides rationale of a combined therapeutic regimen of selective endothelin-A (ET-A) receptor antagonism and sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibition to treat COVID-19. Endothelin is a potent vasoconstrictor with pro-inflammatory and atherosclerotic effects. It is upregulated in a number of conditions including acute respiratory distress syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Endothelin mediates vasocontractility via endothelin (ET-A and ET-B) receptors on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). ET-B receptors regulate endothelin clearance and are present on endothelial cells, where in contrast to their role on VSMCs, mediate vasodilation. Therefore, selective endothelin-A (ET-A) receptor inhibition is likely the optimal approach to attenuate the injurious effects of endothelin and may reduce ventilation-perfusion mismatch and pulmonary inflammation, whilst improving pulmonary haemodynamics and oxygenation. SGLT-2 inhibition may dampen inflammatory cytokines, reduce hyperglycaemia if present, improve endothelial function, cardiovascular haemodynamics and cellular bioenergetics. This combination therapeutic approach may therefore have beneficial effects to mitigate both the pulmonary, metabolic and cardiorenal manifestations of COVID-19. Given these drug classes include medicines licensed to treat heart failure, diabetes and pulmonary hypertension respectively, information regarding their safety profile is established. Randomised controlled clinical trials are the best way to determine efficacy and safety of these medicines in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Endothelin Receptor Antagonists , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelin-1/metabolism , Endothelins , Glucose , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sodium , Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2
8.
Nat Commun ; 11(1):3412-3412, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-662100

ABSTRACT

Regulatory B cells restrict immune and inflammatory responses across a number of contexts. This capacity is mediated primarily through the production of IL-10. Here we demonstrate that the induction of a regulatory program in human B cells is dependent on a metabolic priming event driven by cholesterol metabolism. Synthesis of the metabolic intermediate geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) is required to specifically drive IL-10 production, and to attenuate Th1 responses. Furthermore, GGPP-dependent protein modifications control signaling through PI3Kδ-AKT-GSK3, which in turn promote BLIMP1-dependent IL-10 production. Inherited gene mutations in cholesterol metabolism result in a severe autoinflammatory syndrome termed mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD). Consistent with our findings, B cells from MKD patients induce poor IL-10 responses and are functionally impaired. Moreover, metabolic supplementation with GGPP is able to reverse this defect. Collectively, our data define cholesterol metabolism as an integral metabolic pathway for the optimal functioning of human IL-10 producing regulatory B cells.

9.
Trials ; 21(1): 690, 2020 Jul 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-690784

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine if a specific intervention reduces the composite of progression of patients with COVID-19-related disease to organ failure or death as measured by time to incidence of any one of the following: death, invasive mechanical ventilation, ECMO, cardiovascular organ support (inotropes or balloon pump), or renal failure (estimated Cockcroft Gault creatinine clearance <15ml/min). TRIAL DESIGN: Randomised, parallel arm, open-label, adaptive platform Phase 2/3 trial of potential disease modifying therapies in patients with late stage 1/stage 2 COVID-19-related disease, with a diagnosis based either on a positive assay or high suspicion of COVID-19 infection by clinical, laboratory and radiological assessment. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged 18 and over, with a clinical picture strongly suggestive of COVID-19-related disease (with/without a positive COVID-19 test) AND a risk count (as defined below) >3 OR ≥3 if risk count includes "Radiographic severity score >3". A risk count is calculated by the following features on admission (1 point for each): radiographic severity score >3, male gender, non-white ethnicity, diabetes, hypertension, neutrophils >8.0 x109/L, age >40 years and CRP >40 mg/L. Patients should be considered an appropriate subject for intervention with immunomodulatory or other disease modifying agents in the opinion of the investigator and are able to swallow capsules or tablets. The complete inclusion and exclusion criteria as detailed in the Additional file 1 should be fulfilled. Drug specific inclusion and exclusion criteria will also be applied to the active arms. Patients will be enrolled prior to the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, cardiac or renal support. Participants will be recruited across multiple centres in the UK including initially at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St George's University NHS Foundation Trust. Other centres will be approached internationally in view of the evolving pandemic. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: There is increasing evidence of the role of immunomodulation in altering the course of COVID-19. Additionally, various groups have demonstrated the presence of pulmonary shunting in patients with COVID-19 as well as other cardiovascular complications. TACTIC-E will assess the efficacy of the novel immunomodulatory agent EDP1815 versus the approved cardio-pulmonary drugs, Dapagliflozin in combination with Ambrisentan versus the prevailing standard of care. EDP1815 will be given as 2 capsules twice daily (1.6 x 1011 cells) for up to 7 days with the option to extend up to 14 days at the discretion of the principal investigator or their delegate, if the patient is felt to be clinically responding to treatment, is tolerating treatment, and is judged to be likely to benefit from a longer treatment course. Ambrisentan 5mg and Dapagliflozin 10mg will be given in combination once daily orally for up to maximum of 14 days. Patients will be randomised in a 1:1:1 ratio across treatments. Each active arm will be compared with standard of care alone. Additional arms may be added as the trial progresses. No comparisons will be made between active arms in this platform trial. MAIN OUTCOMES: The primary outcome is the incidence (from baseline up to Day 14) to the occurrence of the any one of the following events: death, invasive mechanical ventilation, extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiovascular organ support (inotropes or balloon pump), or renal failure (estimated Cockcroft Gault creatinine clearance <15ml/min). RANDOMISATION: Eligible patients will be randomised using a central web-based randomisation service (Sealed Envelope) in a 1:1:1 ratio, stratified by site to one of the treatment arms or standard of care. BLINDING (MASKING): This is an open-label trial. Data analysis will not be blinded. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): There is no fixed sample size for this study. There will be an early biomarker-based futility analysis performed at a point during the study. If this biomarker futility analysis is not conclusive, then a second futility analysis based on clinical endpoints will be performed after approximately 125 patients have been recruited per arm. Provisionally, further analyses of clinical endpoints will be performed after 229 patients per active arm and later 469 patients per arm have been recruited. Further additional analyses may be triggered by the independent data monitoring committee. TRIAL STATUS: TACTIC-E Protocol version number 1.0 date May 27th, 2020. Recruitment starts on the 3rd of July 2020. The end trial date will be 18 months after the last patient's last visit and cannot be accurately predicted at this time. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered on EU Clinical Trials Register EudraCT Number: 2020-002229-27 registered: 9 June 2020. The trial was also registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04393246) on 19 May 2020. FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.


Subject(s)
Benzhydryl Compounds/administration & dosage , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Glucosides/administration & dosage , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Phenylpropionates/administration & dosage , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pyridazines/administration & dosage , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , COVID-19 , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , Respiration, Artificial , SARS-CoV-2 , Standard of Care
10.
Trials ; 21(1): 626, 2020 Jul 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-635667

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine if a specific immunomodulatory intervention reduces progression of COVID-19-related disease to organ failure or death, compared to standard of care (SoC). TRIAL DESIGN: Randomised, parallel 3-arm (1:1:1 ratio), open-label, Phase IV platform trial of immunomodulatory therapies in patients with late stage 1 or stage 2 COVID-19-related disease, with a diagnosis based either on a positive assay or high suspicion of COVID-19 infection by clinical and/or radiological assessment. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged 18 and over, with a clinical picture strongly suggestive of COVID-19-related disease (with/without a positive COVID-19 test) AND a Risk count (as defined below) >3 OR ≥3 if risk count includes "Radiographic severity score >3". A risk count is calculated by the following features on admission (1 point for each): radiographic severity score >3, male gender, non-white ethnicity, diabetes, hypertension, neutrophils >8.0 x109/L, age >40 years and CRP >40 mg/L. Patients should be considered an appropriate subject for intervention with immunomodulatory therapies in the opinion of the investigator and be able to be maintained on venous thromboembolism prophylaxis during the inpatient dosing period, according to local guidelines. The complete inclusion and exclusion criteria as detailed in the additional file 1 should be fulfilled. Patients will be enrolled prior to the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, cardiac or renal support. Participants will be recruited across multiple centres including initially at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of Wales, Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: Each active comparator arm will be compared against standard of care (SoC). The immunomodulatory drugs were selected from a panel of licenced candidates by a drug evaluation committee, which considered potential efficacy, potential toxicity, scalability and novelty of each strategy. The initial active arms comprise baricitinib and ravulizumab. Baricitinib will be given 4 mg orally (once daily (OD)) on days 1-14 or until day of discharge. The dose will be reduced to 2 mg OD for patients aged > 75 years and those with an estimated Cockcroft Gault creatinine clearance of 30-60 ml/min. Ravulizumab will be administered intravenously once according to the licensed weight-based dosing regimen (see Additional file 1). Each active arm will be compared with standard of care alone. No comparisons will be made between active arms in this platform trial. MAIN OUTCOMES: The primary outcome is the incidence (from baseline up to Day 14) of any one of the events (whichever comes first): death, invasive mechanical ventilation, extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiovascular organ support (inotropes or balloon pump), or renal failure (estimated Cockcroft Gault creatinine clearance <15ml/min). RANDOMISATION: Eligible patients will be randomised using a central web-based randomisation service (Sealed Envelope) in a 1:1:1 ratio, stratified by site to one of the treatment arms or SoC. BLINDING (MASKING): This is an open-label trial. Data analysis will not be blinded. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): There is no fixed sample size for this study. Serial interim analyses will be triggered by an Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC), including analysis after 125 patients are recruited to each arm, 375 in total assuming 3 arms. Additional interim analyses are projected after 229 patients per arm, and potentially then after 469 per arm, but additional analyses may be triggered by the IDMC. TRIAL STATUS: TACTIC-R Protocol version number 2.0 date May 20, 2020, recruitment began May 7, 2020 and the end trial will be the date 18 months after the last patient's last visit. The recruitment end date cannot yet be accurately predicted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered on EU Clinical Trials Register EudraCT Number: 2020-001354-22 Registered: 6 May 2020 It was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT04390464 ) and on ISRCTN (ISRCTN11188345) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/adverse effects , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Azetidines/adverse effects , Azetidines/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , Purines , Pyrazoles , SARS-CoV-2 , Sulfonamides/adverse effects , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use
11.
Ecancermedicalscience ; 14: 1022, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-44724

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Cancer and transplant patients with COVID-19 have a higher risk of developing severe and even fatal respiratory diseases, especially as they may be treated with immune-suppressive or immune-stimulating drugs. This review focuses on the effects of these drugs on host immunity against COVID-19. METHODS: Using Ovid MEDLINE, we reviewed current evidence for immune-suppressing or -stimulating drugs: cytotoxic chemotherapy, low-dose steroids, tumour necrosis factorα (TNFα) blockers, interlukin-6 (IL-6) blockade, Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, IL-1 blockade, mycophenolate, tacrolimus, anti-CD20 and CTLA4-Ig. RESULTS: 89 studies were included. Cytotoxic chemotherapy has been shown to be a specific inhibitor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in in vitro studies, but no specific studies exist as of yet for COVID-19. No conclusive evidence for or against the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the treatment of COVID-19 patients is available, nor is there evidence indicating that TNFα blockade is harmful to patients in the context of COVID-19. COVID-19 has been observed to induce a pro-inflammatory cytokine generation and secretion of cytokines, such as IL-6, but there is no evidence of the beneficial impact of IL-6 inhibitors on the modulation of COVID-19. Although there are potential targets in the JAK-STAT pathway that can be manipulated in treatment for coronaviruses and it is evident that IL-1 is elevated in patients with a coronavirus, there is currently no evidence for a role of these drugs in treatment of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging decision-making about treatment of critically unwell patients. Low-dose prednisolone and tacrolimus may have beneficial impacts on COVID-19. The mycophenolate mofetil picture is less clear, with conflicting data from pre-clinical studies. There is no definitive evidence that specific cytotoxic drugs, low-dose methotrexate for auto-immune disease, NSAIDs, JAK kinase inhibitors or anti-TNFα agents are contraindicated. There is clear evidence that IL-6 peak levels are associated with severity of pulmonary complications.

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