People Who Manage Asthma Effectively Can Improve Their Chances Against COVID-19

Study indicates that patients with asthma should continue taking their asthma medications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A large study conducted by USC and Kaiser Permanente Southern California has found that asthmatics who have their illness well under control have less severe COVID-19 outcomes than those with uncontrolled asthma.

The findings suggest that patients with asthma should continue taking their asthma medications during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the study authors.

“Anyone with asthma should continue to work with their health care provider to ensure they are getting the best treatment for their asthma, which leads to better asthma control and decreases the likelihood of severe COVID-19 outcomes,” said co-lead study author Zhanghua Chen, an assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, in a press release.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of breathing disorders on COVID-19 outcomes in a population with equal access to health care. The research teams analyzed data on 61,338 COVID-19 patients using electronic medical records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California from March 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020.

To determine whether the patients had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prior to the COVID-19 diagnosis, medical codes were used and data were then separated further, with the “active” group accounting for any patients who had a clinical visit for asthma within the past 12 months and the “inactive” group accounting for those who had not, according to the study.

The inactive group had a total of 2751 patients versus 2775 in the active group, with an additional 820 patients who had a history of COPD. Patients in the active asthma group had significantly higher odds of hospitalization, a need for intensive respiratory support and ICU admission within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis compared to those with no history of asthma or COPD.

According to the study, a history of COPD was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization, need for intensive respiratory support, and death within 60 days from COVID-19. Additionally, researchers did not see a higher likelihood of mortality within 60 days for the active asthma group.

“This study went beyond examining asthma’s impact on COVID-19 outcomes and instead focused on how COVID-19 outcomes might change for asthma patients depending on their level of asthma control,” said study author Anny H. Xiang of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, in a press release. “We also saw that even in patients with active asthma, if they were using asthma medications their odds of worsened COVID-19 outcomes decreased, which demonstrates just how important these medications are.”

REFERENCE

People who manage their asthma can improve their chances against COVID-19. USC News. August 10, 2021. Accessed August 11, 2021. https://news.usc.edu/190289/asthma-control-copd-covid-usc-research/