Disease severity of both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma may increase the risk of the development of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to results of an analysis presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Virtual Annual Meeting held February 26 to March 1, 2021.

Researchers evaluated patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020. They sought to explore whether the treatment and disease severity of patients with asthma and/or COPD can affect the severity of COVID-19 infection in a large, diverse population of patients from Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Electronic health records were used to obtain data on history of COPD and asthma, corticosteroid and bronchodilator use, and covariates such as demographics, other comorbidities, and lifestyle factors. Severe COVID-19 was characterized by hospitalization within 30 days following a diagnosis of the infection.

A total of 77,034 adult patients with COVID-19 were evaluated — 45.4% of whom were men and 65% of whom were Hispanic. The mean patient age was 42.9 years. Of these patients, 7868 patients were hospitalized within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. The presence of asthma and COPD was reported among 14.5% and 12.6% of patients, respectively. After adjusting for coviariates, asthma and COPD were both associated with hospitalization (risk ratio [RR], 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.17 and RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.16, respectively).

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The associations were greater and statistically significant among those who were middle-aged (defined as 35-64 years of age) and those who were obese (P interaction, ≤.01). Based on asthma subtype, only nonallergic asthma was linked to hospitalization among patients with COVID-19 (RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.03-1.20). Additionally, among patients with asthma and/or COPD, those who had used both corticosteroids and bronchodilators for 6 months or less prior to COVID-19 diagnosis were at a higher risk for hospitalization.

The investigators concluded that among patients with asthma and/or COPD, disease severity, rather than corticosteroid utilization, may increase an individual’s risk of developing severe COVID-19.


Huang B, Chen Z, Sidell M, et al. Association of asthma, COPD and medication history with the risk of severe COVID-19. Presented at: the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Virtual Annual Meeting; February 26-March 1, 2021. Abstract L39. 

(HealthDay News) — The World Health Organization (WHO) says steps to expand genome sequencing of new variants of the coronavirus are needed as the pandemic enters its second year, the Associated Press reported. New variants found in Britain and South Africa appear to be more contagious and have triggered new travel restrictions. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at an online news conference Monday from Geneva that “there will be setbacks and new challenges in the year ahead — for example, new variants of COVID-19 and helping people who are tired of the pandemic continue to combat it,” according to the AP. WHO is working with scientists around the world to “better understand any and all changes to the virus” and their impact, Tedros said. He added he wanted to “underscore the importance of increasing genomic sequencing capacity worldwide” and of sharing information with the United Nations health agency and other countries. He said that “only if countries are looking and testing effectively will you be able to pick up variants and adjust strategies to cope.” AP News Article

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor