Publication date: Sep 21, 2023
Some patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) go on to experience post-COVID-19 condition or long COVID. Preliminary findings have given rise to the theory that long COVID may be due in part to a deranged immune response. In this study, we assess whether there is an association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and the incidence of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). Matched cohort study using primary care electronic health record data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum database. The exposed cohort included 458,147 adults aged 18 years and older with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and no prior diagnosis of IMIDs. They were matched on age, sex, and general practice to 1,818,929 adults with no diagnosis of confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. The primary outcome was a composite of any of the following IMIDs: autoimmune thyroiditis, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), myasthenia gravis, pernicious anaemia, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), and vitiligo. The secondary outcomes were each of these conditions separately. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the primary and secondary outcomes, adjusting for age, sex, ethnic group, smoking status, body mass index, relevant infections, and medications. Six hundred and nighty six (0. 15%) and 2230 (0. 12%) patients in the exposed and unexposed cohort developed an IMID during the follow-up period over 0. 29 person-years, giving a crude incidence rate of 4. 59 and 3. 65 per 1000 person-years, respectively. Patients in the exposed cohort had a 22% increased risk of developing an IMID, compared to the unexposed cohort (aHR 1. 22, 95% CI 1. 12 to 1. 33). The incidence of three IMIDs was significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. These were T1DM (aHR 1. 56, 1. 09 to 2. 23), IBD (aHR 1. 36, 1. 18 to 1. 56), and psoriasis (1. 23, 1. 05 to 1. 42). SARS-CoV-2 was associated with an increased incidence of IMIDs including T1DM, IBD and psoriasis. However, these findings could be potentially due to ascertainment bias. Further research is needed to replicate these findings in other populations and to measure autoantibody profiles in cohorts of individuals with COVID-19.
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|Rheumatoid||Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases|