Interviewer: Doctor Wallace, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us today
on rheumatic diseases as a risk factor for COVID-19.
Could you please give an overview on our current knowledge of how
rheumatoid diseases can cause an individual to be
more susceptible to a SARS-CoV-2 infection,
or how it causes a worsening of the disease compared to the general population?
Dr Wallace: Sure, I'm happy to.
Thank you so much for inviting me to speak with you today.
When I think about my patients with rheumatic disease,
many of whom are very concerned, as you can imagine,
with their risk of developing COVID-19 or what might happen if they do get infected,
I generally think of their risk from two perspectives.
The first is we know in the general population that patients who are
older or who have comorbidities like interstitial lung disease or cardiovascular disease,
those are the ones who may be at higher risk for COVID-19,
especially symptomatic COVID-19 and severe COVID-19 that puts them in the hospital and
in really poor outcomes like requiring mechanical ventilation or ending in death.
When we think about our rheumatic disease population,
this is a population that oftentimes does have some of these comorbidities.
Many of them are older and so from the onset,
many of these patients do have a higher risk of perhaps
developing COVID-19 or having worse outcomes as a result of their comorbidities.
Now, when we think about the other reason
why patients with rheumatic diseases may be at higher risk,
I think naturally would be,
think about as the treatments that we use in this patient population.