7 May 2020

Study suggests biologics not linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes


Patients taking biologics for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases do not appear to be at greater risk of severe COVID-19 infection, according to a New York case series published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research letter reported on 86 patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disease – including psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis – who either had confirmed or highly suspected symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

Nearly three-quarters of these patients were being treated with biologics or JAK inhibitors for their inflammatory disease.

Overall, 16% of the patients in the study were hospitalised, which the authors said was a similar rate of hospitalisation to that seen in the general population, and only 11% of patients treated with biologics were hospitalised.

“These findings suggest that the baseline use of biologics is not associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes,” they wrote.

NEJM April 29, 2020