The impact of COVID-19 on people with asthma

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal

Research suggests that COVID-19 can have a more serious effect on people with underlying long-term conditions. So far, research suggests that people with asthma are having less severe outcomes from COVID-19 than expected, despite this group of people often experiencing a more severe version of seasonal flu and other viruses.

What did the study look at?

This study aimed to understand this risk of COVID-19 in people with asthma. Researchers analysed health records of over 71,000 people with asthma in Spain. They looked at the records between January and May 2020 and assessed whether people developed COVID-19, what medication they were taking, what underlying conditions they had and whether they were hospitalised.

What do the results show?

1,006 people (1.4% of the total study population) developed COVID-19 during the study period. The people who developed COVID-19 were more likely to be older, female, smoke more often and were more likely to be living with another condition such as diabetes or obesity.

Conditions such as eczema were less common in people with asthma who developed COVID-19.

The use of inhaled corticosteroids was lower in people who needed hospital treatment due to COVID-19 compared to those who were not hospitalised.

Why is this important?

Overall, this study found that the increased risk of hospitalisation from having both asthma and COVID-19 is mainly linked with age and living with other conditions. The findings suggest that asthma medication is safe and should continue to be taken. The results also suggest that inhaled corticosteroids may be associated with a protective affect against severe COVID-19 infection.

Read the original research paper

Title: The Impact of COVID-19 on Patients with Asthma