J Asthma. 2021 Oct 20:1-10. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2021.1996599. Online ahead of print.
Objective: In order to decrease the use of systemic corticosteroids and prevent asthma exacerbations, EAACI and GINA made recommendations in favour of severe asthma patients continuing the use of biologicals during the pandemic. However, the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection remains uncertain, especially in patients taking biological therapy for severe asthma. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the clinical course of COVID-19 in severe asthmatic patients receiving biological treatment. Methods: A total of 75 patients under the care of a tertiary level allergy clinic and receiving omalizumab or mepolizumab, which are the approved biologicals for severe asthma in Turkey, were included in the survey between April 1 and December 31, 2020. A questionnaire was administered via a telephone call by one of the treating physicians. Results: Of the total patients, 46 (61%) were receiving mepolizumab and 29 (39%) omalizumab. Of the patients, 14 (19%) had COVID-19, 9 (64%) had pneumonia, 4 (29%) were hospitalized. A total of 12 (16%) patients interrupted biological treatments because they did not want to attend hospital for injections during the pandemic. The incidence of COVID-19 was higher in patients who have interrupted biological treatment (p < 0.001). In addition, the risk of having COVID-19 was higher in the ones who have interrupted their biological treatment (Relative risk:2.71; 95% Confidence interval:1.21-6.06). Asthma control was better in patients attending regular injections (p = 0.006). Conclusion: Severe asthma itself seems to be a risk factor for COVID-19, whether biological treatment has a role in the disease course needs further research.