After a number of investigations, researchers have drawn some considerations about the impact of COVID-19 in different groups of patients with autoimmune systemic diseases (ASD), according to an article published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
In their analysis of the available data, the researchers note that the actual prevalence of COVID-19 in patients with ASD might be underestimated, possibly due to factors such as the high rate of mild COVID-19 variants. Still, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in patients with ASD appears less severe than initially feared.
Notably, patients with connective tissue diseases or vasculitis showed a higher prevalence of COVID-19 compared with different forms of chronic arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis), possibly as a consequence of a deeper immune system dysfunction present in these disorders.
Other noteworthy consideration is that treatment with immune modifiers have proven to be safe. These drugs may play some protective role against the most harmful manifestations of COVID-19 such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to the cytokine storm, the authors hypothesise.
They conclude that clinical guidelines are highly advisable in order to identify ASD patients’ subgroups at high risk of infection.