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Lancet Rheumatol ; 2(9): e557-e564, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-623270

ABSTRACT

Background: In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the susceptibility of patients with rheumatic diseases to COVID-19 remains unclear. We aimed to investigate susceptibility to COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We did a multicentre retrospective study of patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases in Hubei province, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Patients with rheumatic diseases were contacted through an automated telephone-based survey to investigate their susceptibility to COVID-19. Data about COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis were collected. Families with a documented history of COVID-19 exposure, as defined by having at least one family member diagnosed with COVID-19, were followed up by medical professionals to obtain detailed information, including sex, age, smoking history, past medical history, use of medications, and information related to COVID-19. Findings: Between March 20 and March 30, 2020, 6228 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases were included in the study. The overall rate of COVID-19 in patients with an autoimmune rheumatic disease in our study population was 0·43% (27 of 6228 patients). We identified 42 families in which COVID-19 was diagnosed between Dec 20, 2019, and March 20, 2020, in either patients with a rheumatic disease or in a family member residing at the same physical address during the outbreak. Within these 42 families, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 27 (63%) of 43 patients with a rheumatic disease and in 28 (34%) of 83 of their family members with no rheumatic disease (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2·68 [95% CI 1·14-6·27]; p=0·023). Patients with rheumatic disease who were taking hydroxychloroquine had a lower risk of COVID-19 infection than patients taking other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (OR 0·09 [95% CI 0·01-0·94]; p=0·044). Additionally, the risk of COVID-19 was increased with age (adjusted OR 1·04 [95%CI 1·01-1·06]; p=0·0081). Interpretation: Patients with autoimmune rheumatic disease might be more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than the general population. Funding: National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Tongji Hospital Clinical Research Flagship Program.

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