Increased Systemic Inflammation Linked To Symptomatic COVID-
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Although the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases is comparable to the general population, increased systemic inflammation among these patients is linked to symptomatic COVID-19, according to researchers. The data also demonstrate that symptomatic COVID-19 occurs less frequently in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases who receive biologic drugs.

The researchers recruited participants with rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome or giant cell arteritis, from six tertiary referral centers in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, for a questionnaire that collected data on demographics, comorbidities, treatments, disease flares and COVID-19 symptoms.

Participants were systematically tested for SARS-CoV-2 serology. A total of 3,136 participants completed the questionnaire between June 7, 2020, and Dec. 8, 2020. For their analysis, the researchers used data from 3,028 participants symptomatic of COVID-19, serological data, or both. The main outcome was the serological and clinical prevalence of COVID-19.

According to the researchers, 5.5% of the 3,018 participants who had serology tests demonstrated COVID-19 antibodies. Symptomatic COVID-19 occurred in 4% of the 3,028 patients included in the analysis. Among those who were symptomatic, 19.7% were admitted to hospital and 3.3% died. Higher concentrations of C-reactive protein and higher numbers of recent disease flares were associated with symptomatic COVID-19.

Meanwhile, biologic therapy use was associated with a reduced risk for symptomatic COVID-19. At least one disease flare occurred in 21.6% of the 3,028 included patients. Among 2,514 participants, 20.6% reported treatment changes. Among those who changed treatment, 24.1% said it had been because of the pandemic.