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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 81:970-971, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2009129


Background: Patients with autoimmune systemic diseases (ASDs) can be counted among frail populations as regards the predisposition to COVID-19 due to the frequent visceral organ involvement and comorbidities, as well as the ongoing immunomodulating treatments. Objectives: Our long-term multicenter telephone survey prospectively investigated the prevalence, prognostic factors, and outcomes of COVID-19 in Italian ASD patients during the frst 3 pandemic waves. Methods: A large series of 3,918 ASD patients (815 M, 3103 F;mean age 59±12SD years) was consecutively recruited at the 36 referral centers of COVID-19 & ASD Italian Study Group. In particular, ASD series encompassed the following conditions: rheumatoid arthritis (n: 981), psoriatic arthritis (n: 471), ankylosing spondylitis (n: 159), systemic sclerosis (n: 1,738), systemic lupus (172), systemic vasculitis (n: 219), and a miscellany of other ASDs (n: 178). The development of COVID-19 was recorded by means of telephone survey using standardized symptom-assessment questionnaire (1). Results: A signifcantly increased prevalence of COVID-19 (8.37% vs 6.49%;p<0.0001) was observed in our ASD patients, while the cumulative death rate revealed statistically comparable to the Italian general population (3.65% vs 2.95%;p: ns). In particular, among the 328 ASD patients complicated by COVID-19, 57 (17%) needed hospitalization, while mild-moderate manifestations were observed in the large majority of individuals (83%). In addition, 12/57 hospitalized patients died due to severe interstitial pneumonia and/or cardiovascular manifestations. Interestingly, a signifcantly higher COVID-19-related death rate was observed in systemic sclerosis patients compared to the Italian general population (6.29% vs 2.95%;p=0.018). Other adverse prognostic factors to develop COVID-19 were the patients' older age, male gender, pre-existing ASD-related interstitial lung involvement, and chronic steroid treatment. Conversely, patients treated with conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDs) showed a signifcantly lower prevalence of COVID-19 compared to those without (3.58% vs 46.99%;p=0.000), as well as the chronic administration of low dose aspirin in a subgroup of SSc patients (with 5.57% vs without 27.84%;p=0.000). Conclusion: The cumulative impact of COVID-19 on ASD patients after the frst 3 pandemic waves revealed less severe than that observed during the frst phase of pandemic (1), especially with regards to the death rate that was comparable to the Italian general population in spite of the increased prevalence of complicating COVID-19 in the same ASD series. Ongoing long-term treatments, mainly csDMARDs, might usefully contribute to generally positive outcomes of in this frail patients' population. Of note, a signifcantly increased COVID-19-related mortality was recorded in only SSc patients' subgroup, possibly favored by pre-existing lung fbrosis. Among different ASD, SSc deserves special attention, since it shares the main pathological alterations with COVID-19, namely the interstitial lung involvement and the endothelial injury responsible for diffuse microangiopathy. Besides SSc, the patients' subgroups characterized by older age, chronic steroid treatment, pre-existing interstitial lung disease, and/or impaired COVID-19 vaccine response (1-3), may deserve well-designed prevention and management strategies.

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 81:948-949, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2008966


Background: Since the COVID-19 vaccination campaign was launched all over Europe, there has been general agreement on how benefts of SARS-CoV2 vaccines outweigh the risks in patients with rare connective tissue diseases (rCTDs). Yet, there is still limited evidence regarding safety and efficacy of such vaccines in these patients, especially in the long-term. For this reason, in the framework of ERN-ReCONNET, an observational long-term study (VACCINATE) was designed in order to explore the long-term outcome of COVID-19 vaccination in rCTDs patients. The consent form was developed thanks to the involvement of the ERN ReCONNET ePAG Advocates (European Patients Advocacy Group). Objectives: To evaluate the safety profile of COVID-19 vaccination in rCTDs patients and the potential impact on disease activity. Primary endpoints were the prevalence of adverse events (AEs) and of disease exacerbations post-vaccination. Secondary endpoints were the proportion of serious adverse events (SAEs) and adverse events of special interest for COVID-19 (adapted from AESI-update-23Dec2020-review-fnal.pdf) Methods: The frst ad-interim analysis of the VACCINATE study involved 9 ERN-ReCONNET Network centres. Patients over 18 years of age with a known rCTD and who received vaccine against COVID-19 were eligible for recruitment. Demographic data and diagnoses were collected at the time of enrolment, while the appearance of AEs and potential disease exacerbations were monitored after one week from each vaccination dose, and then after 4, 12 and 24 weeks from the second dose. A disease exacerbation was defned as at least one of the following: new manifestations attributable to disease activity, hospital-ization, increase in PGA from previous evaluation, addition of corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. Results: A cohort of 300 patients (261 females, mean age 52, range 18-85) was recruited. Systemic lupus erythematosus (44%) and systemic sclerosis (16%) were the most frequent diagnoses, followed by Sjogren's syndrome (SS,12%), idiopathic infammatory myositis (IMM,10%), undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD,8%), mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD,4%), Ehlers-Dan-los's syndrome (EDS,4%), antiphospholipid syndrome (APS,2%). AEs appearing 7 days after the frst and second doses were reported in 93 (31%) and 96 (32%) patients respectively, mainly represented by fatigue, injection site reaction, headache, fever and myalgia. Otitis, urticaria, Herpes Simplex-related rash, stomatitis, migraine with aura, vertigo, tinnitus and sleepiness were reported with very low frequency. Less than 2% of patients experienced AEs within 24 weeks from the second dose. No SAEs or AEs of special interest were observed in the study period. There were 25 disease exacerbations (8%), 7 of which severe. The highest number of exacerbations was observed after 4 weeks from the second dose (12 within week 4, 6 within week 12 and 7 within week 24). Disease exacerbation was most frequent in patients with EDS (33%) and MCTD (25%). Conclusion: This preliminary analysis shows that COVID-19 vaccination is safe in rCTDs patients. AEs appear most often early after vaccination and are usually mild. Disease exacerbations are not frequent, but can be potentially severe and tend to occur most frequently within the frst month after vaccination. Exacerbations can also occur 3-6 months after vaccination, although a causal relationship with the vaccination remains to be established. Our present data underline the importance of long-term observational studies.

Clinical & Experimental Rheumatology ; 08:08, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1733466


OBJECTIVES: To investigate differences in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mortality between patients with rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases (RMD) and the general population in Italy. METHODS: We analysed the data from the national surveillance study promoted by the Italian Society for Rheumatology (CONTROL-19 database) including patients with RMD and COVID-19 between 26 March 2020 and 29 November 2020, compared with official data from the Italian population (within the same period) adjusted for age, sex and geographic location. The main outcome of the analyses was mortality. The relationship between RMD and mortality was analysed using adjusted logistic models and sensitivity analyses were conducted to support the robustness of our results. RESULTS: We included 668 RMD patients (62.7% with inflammatory arthritis, 28.6% with systemic autoimmune diseases), who had a mean age of 58.4 years and of which 66% were female. Compared to the general population, the RMD population showed an increased risk of death (OR 3.10 (95% CI 2.29-4.12)), independently from the differences in age and sex distribution. Even after considering the potential influence of surveillance bias, the OR was 2.08 (95% CI: 1.55-2.73). Such excess of risk was more evident in the subgroup of younger patients, and more consistent in women. Subjects with systemic autoimmune diseases showed a higher risk of death than patients with any other RMDs. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with RMD and COVID-19 infection evidenced a significant increase in mortality during the first pandemic phases in Italy. These findings support the need for strong SARS-CoV-2 prevention in patients with rheumatic diseases.