Severe asthma in the era of COVID-19: A narrative review

João Gaspar-Marques, Mafalda van Zeller, Pedro Carreiro-Martins, Cláudia Chaves Loureiro

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Abstract

Introduction and objectives: Severe asthma management during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a challenge and will continue to be, at least in the next few months, as herd immunity is still a mirage. A lot has to be learned about how COVID-19 affects underlying diseases, and severe asthma is no exception. Methods: Narrative review of papers available until February 2021 in PubMed and Google Scholar, relating severe asthma and COVID-19. Four main research topics were reviewed: SARS-CoV-2 infection: immunology and respiratory pathology; interrelationship of severe asthma endotypes and COVID-19 disease mechanisms; severe asthma epidemiology and COVID-19; and biologics for severe asthma in the context of COVID-19. Results: COVID-19 disease mechanisms start with upper respiratory cell infection, and afterwards several immunological facets are activated, contributing to disease severity, namely cell-mediated immunity and antibody production. Although infrequent in the COVID-19 course some patients develop a cytokine storm that causes organ damage and may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome or multiorgan failure. Regarding severe asthma endotypes, type2-high might have a protective role both in infection risk and disease course. There is conflicting data regarding the epidemiological relationship between COVID-19 among severe asthma patients, with some studies reporting increased risk of infection and disease course, whereas others the other way round. Biologics for severe asthma do not seem to increase the risk of infection and severe COVID-19, although further evidence is needed. Conclusions: Globally, in the era of COVID-19, major respiratory societies recommend continuing the biologic treatment, preferably in a self-home administration program.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPulmonology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • Antibodies
  • Asthma
  • Covid-19
  • Monoclonal
  • SARS-CoV-2

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