Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Jun 22:S0210-5705(21)00203-X. doi: 10.1016/j.gastrohep.2021.06.005. Online ahead of print.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for countries and health professionals worldwide. Viral entry by ACE-2 receptor and an excessive activation of the immune system are key to understand both incidence and severity of disease. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) represents a special condition associated with an inordinate response of the immune system to external agents. IBD treatments have been associated to an increased risk of bacterial and viral infections. This has raised the question of possible higher incidence and severity of COVID-19 infection in IBD patients. Several papers have been published during this year of pandemic to answer that question. Moreover, COVID-19 vaccination offers great promise in controlling infection in patients with IBD. Based on current evidence, patients with IBD do not have a higher incidence of COVID-19 than the general population, and they do not have worse disease evolution. Advanced age and presence of a greater number of comorbidities have been associated with worse outcomes, similar to the general population. Corticosteroids are associated to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, higher hospitalization rate and higher risk of severe COVID-19. 5-ASA / Sulfasalazine and Thiopurines have a possible increased risk of severe COVID-19, although studies are lacking. On the other hand, Anti-TNF may have a possible protective effect. It is recommended to maintain the treatment. Anti-IL-12/23, anti-integrins and tofacitinib have results comparable to anti-TNF. Based on the efficacy, expert recommendations, and the absence of other evidence, it is recommended that patients with IBD be vaccinated.