COVID19…Learning from Arthritis


Arthritis paper on medRXiv

Objective To investigate baseline use of biologic or targeted synthetic (b/ts) disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and COVID-19 outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods We analysed the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance physician registry (from 24 March 2020 to 12 April 2021). We investigated b/tsDMARD use for RA at the clinical onset of COVID-19 (baseline): abatacept (ABA), rituximab (RTX), Janus kinase inhibitors (JAKi), interleukin 6 inhibitors (IL-6i) or tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi, reference group). The ordinal COVID-19 severity outcome was (1) no hospitalisation, (2) hospitalisation without oxygen, (3) hospitalisation with oxygen/ventilation or (4) death. We used ordinal logistic regression to estimate the OR (odds of being one level higher on the ordinal outcome) for each drug class compared with TNFi, adjusting for potential baseline confounders.

Results Of 2869 people with RA (mean age 56.7 years, 80.8% female) on b/tsDMARD at the onset of COVID-19, there were 364 on RTX and 1388 on TNFi. RTX (OR 4.15, 95% CI 3.16 to 5.44) were associated with worse COVID-19 severity compared with TNFi.

Conclusions People with RA treated with RTX had worse COVID-19 severity than those on TNFi. The strong association of RTX use with poor COVID-19 outcomes highlights prioritisation of risk mitigation strategies for these people.

Another cancer study

Patients with hematologic malignancies are a high priority for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, yet the benefit they will derive is uncertain. We investigated the humoral response to vaccination in 53 cancer patients. Peripheral blood was obtained 2 weeks after first vaccination and 6 weeks after second vaccination for antibody profiling using the multiplex bead-binding assay. Antibody IgG titers were significantly reduced (p < 0.001) for CD20 treated and targeted therapy patients. Only 13% of CD20 treated generated neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 .

General Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry nor Barts Health NHS Trust.

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