Compared with the absence of asthma, the presence of asthma is associated with a comparable risk of hospitalization and use of mechanical ventilation, and a lower risk of mortality in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Researchers conducted a multicenter, matched cohort study using data from the Mass General Brigham Health Care System (MGBHCS) in Boston, Massachusetts, and presented the results at the American Association of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting held from February 26 to March 1, 2021.

Investigators sought to examine the link between asthma and severe COVID-19 infection, which is of key significance as the pandemic continues. Adults (≥18 years of age) who were seen at MGBHCS between March 4, 2020, and July 2, 2020, participated in the study. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease, or cystic fibrosis were excluded. Asthma was defined as 2 more diagnosis codes for asthma and the filling of an asthma prescription in the year prior to a patient’s developing COVID-19.

Up to 5 comparators without asthma were matched to each patient with asthma with respect to age (within 5 years), sex, and date of positive COVID-19 test (within 7 days). The primary study outcomes included hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, and death. All of the participants were followed for these outcomes from their COVID-19 diagnosis until July 2, 2020.


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Of the 562 patients with asthma, 199 were hospitalized, 15 received mechanical ventilation, and 7 died. Of the 2686 matched comparators, 487 were hospitalized, 107 received mechanical ventilation, and 69 died. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) among patients with asthma were as follows: for hospitalization: HR, 0.99 (95% CI, 0.80-1.22); for mechanical ventilation: HR, 0.69 (95% CI, 0.36- 1.29; and for death: HR, 0.30 (95% CI, 0.11-0.800.

The researchers concluded that based on the results of this study, both the presence of and the absence of asthma are linked to comparable risks of hospitalization and use of mechanical ventilation in individuals with COVID-19. The presence of asthma, however, is associated with a lower risk for mortality among individuals with COVID-19.

Reference

Robinson L, Wang L, Fu X, et al. COVID-19 severity in asthma patients: a multicenter matched cohort study. Presented at: the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Virtual Annual Meeting; February 26-March 1, 2021. Abstract L22. 

(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.”


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This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor