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COVID-19 in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: lessons learned from the inflammatory disease.

  • Fernandez-Ruiz, Ruth1
  • Paredes, Jacqueline L2
  • Niewold, Timothy B2
  • 1 Division of Rheumatology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York; Colton Center for Autoimmunity, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Colton Center for Autoimmunity, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York.
Published Article
Translational research : the journal of laboratory and clinical medicine
Publication Date
Dec 19, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.trsl.2020.12.007
PMID: 33352298


As the world navigates the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there is a growing need to assess its impact in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Patients with SLE are a unique population when considering the risk of contracting COVID-19 and infection outcomes. The use of systemic glucocorticoids and immunosuppressants, and underlying organ damage from SLE are potential susceptibility factors. Most patients with SLE have evidence of high type I interferon activity, which may theoretically act as an antiviral line of defense or contribute to the development of a deleterious hyperinflammatory response in COVID-19. Other immunopathogenic mechanisms of SLE may overlap with those described in COVID-19, thus, studies in SLE could provide some insight into immune responses occurring in severe cases of the viral infection. We reviewed the literature to date on COVID-19 in patients with SLE and provide an in-depth review of current research in the area, including immune pathway activation, epidemiology, clinical features, outcomes, and the psychosocial impact of the pandemic in those with autoimmune disease. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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