30 October 2020
By PsoProtect & PsoProtectMe
PsoProtect, a global registry for healthcare professionals to record information about their patients’ experiences, was set up in order to understand the impact that treatments for psoriasis may have on recovery from COVID-19.
Information on 374 patients with psoriasis and COVID-19 from 25 countries was collected in PsoProtect (up to 1st July 2020). Most of the patients (334, 89%) were taking treatments for their psoriasis that affect the immune system – either injection treatments known as ‘biologics’ that target specific immune proteins (267 patients, 71%) or traditional tablet immunosuppressants (67, 18%).
Patients who were older, male, of non-white ethnicity and with other health conditions were more likely to require admission to hospital for their COVID-19 infection. This suggests that people with psoriasis have similar risk factors for more severe infection to the general population.
Patients receiving biologics for psoriasis were less frequently hospitalised than those receiving traditional immunosuppressants. However, we do not know that this association is causal. There may be some other factor that is associated with taking a biologic drug – for example very careful social distancing, or shielding (not leaving home and minimising all face-to-face contact) – that is actually causing the reduced risk. It could also be that the population of patients in the PsoProtect registry is not representative of the whole population of people with psoriasis who are taking drugs that affect the immune system.
Further research is needed before concluding that biologics are safer than traditional immunosuppressants in the context of COVID-19, but in the meantime these findings are reassuring.