COVID-19 and associated mortality rates among patients on immunosuppressive biologic therapy

Vartan Pahalyants, BA
Department of Dermatology
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endoscopy
Poster Overview

Introduction: It is unclear whether patients treated with immunosuppressive biologics are at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 or dying from it.

 

Methods: Review of infection and death rates and risk among 7,361 patients prescribed biologics between July 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 and 74,910 matched controls from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health from March 1, 2020 through June 19, 2020.

 

Results: Demographics of reviewed patients: average age 50.6 years; 56.0% women, 84.5% white. There were 87 (1.2%) infections and 7 deaths (8.0%) in patients treated with biologics and 1063 (1.4%) infections and 71 deaths (6.7%) in the control group. Patients treated with biologics were not at increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis after adjusting for age, sex, race, overall state of health, median income, and local infection rate. They were also not at higher risk of dying after being diagnosed with COVID-19 after adjusting for sex, overall state of health, median income, and local infection rates.

 

Conclusions: Our study builds on the evidence that biologic immunosuppressants do not increase the risk of COVID-19. Patients and providers should consider this information when making decisions about therapy continuation during this pandemic.

Scientific Abstract

Introduction: It is unclear whether patients treated with biologics are at an increased risk of COVID-19 or associated mortality.

 

Methods: Retrospective study of 7,361 patients prescribed biologics between July 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 and 74,910 matched controls, cross-referenced with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health COVID-19 infection and all-cause mortality data from March 1 through June 19, 2020.

 

Results: 7,361 patients treated with biologics and 74,910 matched controls were included in the analysis (mean age, 50.6 years; 56.0% women, 84.5% white; mean age adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index 2.8). There were 87 (1.2%) infections and 7 deaths (8.0%) in patients treated with biologics and 1063 (1.4%) infections and 71 deaths (6.7%) in the control group. Patients treated with immunosuppressive biologics were not at increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.71-1.09, p=0.25) after adjusting for age, sex, race, CCI severity, median income, and local infection rate or subsequent mortality (OR 1.38, 95% CI 0.62-3.07, p=0.43) after adjusting for sex, CCI severity, median income, and local infection rates.

 

Conclusions: Our study builds on the evidence that biologic immunosuppressants do not increase the risk of COVID-19, which should be considered when making decisions about therapy continuation during this pandemic.

Clinical Implications
Our study builds on the evidence that biologic immunosuppressants do not increase the risk of COVID-19. Patients and providers should consider this information when making decisions about therapy continuation to prevent disease progression during this protracted pandemic.
Research Areas
Authors
Vartan Pahalyants, William S. Murphy, Nikolai Klebanov, R. Monina Klevens, Nicholas Theodosakis, Evelyn Lilly, Yevgeniy R. Semenov
Principal Investigator
Yevgeniy R. Semenov

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