Asthma, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 and Coronavirus Disease 2019

Dylan T. Timberlake; Kasey Strothman; Mitchell H. Grayson

Disclosures

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2021;21(2):182-187. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Purpose of Review: In December 2019, a novel respiratory illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first described and named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although the knowledge base surrounding COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 has grown rapidly, significant gaps in our knowledge remain and inaccurate information continues to circulate. This review will discuss the interaction between asthma and COVID-19 to provide a comprehensive understanding based on the currently available published data.

Recent Findings: Non-SARS human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are a significant cause of asthma exacerbations, but SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to exacerbate asthma. Data thus far strongly suggest that patients with asthma are at no increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or more severe disease if infected with COVID-19. Although the data are extremely limited on inhaled corticosteroids and biologic medications, there remain no data suggesting that these therapeutics positively or negatively impact the severity or outcome of COVID-19.

Summary: Data are rapidly evolving regarding COVID-19 and asthma. At this time, asthma does not appear to positively or negatively affect outcomes of COVID-19; however, it is imperative that practitioners keep abreast of the changing literature as we await a vaccine and control of this pandemic.

Introduction

In December 2019, a novel respiratory illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first described and named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Initial reports originated from a cluster of patients in Wuhan, China presenting with pneumonia similar to SARS with severe respiratory illness. Alarmingly, this respiratory illness was associated with an extremely high initial mortality rate of 15%.[1] Three months after its emergence in Wuhan, China, this virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). As of October 7, 2020, there were greater than 35,500,000 documented worldwide cases and over 1,000,000 deaths.[2] Although the knowledge base surrounding COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 has grown rapidly, there remain significant gaps in our knowledge; further, a considerable amount of inaccurate information continues to circulate. This review will discuss the interaction between asthma and COVID-19 and attempts to provide a comprehensive understanding based on the currently available published data.

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