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Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
March 17, 2021
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People with asthma not at higher risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes, study finds

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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People with and without asthma have similar risk for COVID-19 outcomes, according to a review of 57 studies published in the Journal of Asthma.

“We were concerned with whether those with asthma infected with COVID-19 are at a higher risk for negative outcomes like those with cardiovascular disease and obesity,” Anthony P. Sunjaya, MD, researcher in the respiratory division at The George Institute for Global Health and the University of New South Wales, Australia, told Healio.

Key findings of a large systematic review of asthma and COVID-19:
Data were derived from Sunjaya AP, et al. J Asthma. 2021;doi:10.1080/02770903.2021.1888116.

Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 57 studies with 587,280 participants. Of those, 349,592 patients had a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.

Asthma prevalence among those with COVID-19 was 7.46% (95% CI, 6.25-8.67). Nonsevere asthma (9.61%; 95% CI, 6.09-13.13) was more common than severe asthma diagnoses (4.13%; 95% CI, 1.35-6.91), according to the results.

Anthony P. Sunjaya, MD

There was a 14% (95% CI, 0.8-0.94; P < .0001) risk ratio reduction for acquiring COVID-19 and a 13% (95% CI, 0.77-0.99; P = .03) reduction in COVID-19 hospitalization for individuals with asthma compared with those without asthma, according to the results.

“The similar risk profile between those with asthma and non-asthma was an interesting finding, as viral infections are known to increase asthma exacerbations and morbidity,” Sunjaya said.

Researchers found no significant difference in the combined risk of ICU admission and/or mechanical ventilation (RR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.94-1.37; P = .19) and risk for COVID-19 mortality (RR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.68-1.1; P = .25) among individuals with asthma.

“The overall findings based on available evidence suggest that people with asthma are not at increased risk for acquiring COVID-19 compared to those without asthma and have similar outcomes. Further high-quality primary studies and data sharing on asthma and COVID-19 globally is needed to improve our understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 impacts those with asthma,” the researchers wrote.

For more information:

Anthony P. Sunjaya, MD, can be reached at a.sunjaya@unsw.edu.au.