In this video, Giovanni Damiani, MD, discusses what additional research is needed to further the understanding of stopping or starting biologics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Damiani is with the department of clinical dermatology at the IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi and is a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Milan in Italy.
A recent study presented at the 29th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress (EADV Virtual) revealed that biologics may decrease the risk of intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalization and death among patients with psoriasis. In the study, 1193 adult patients with psoriasis treated with biologic or small molecule therapies were compared with the general population of the Lombardy region in Italy. Data were collected from February 21, 2020 (first COVID-19 case), to April 9, 2020. Findings showed that patients treated with biologic therapies had a higher risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (unadjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.43; 95% CI, 2.25-5.73), being self-quarantined at home (OR, 9.05; 95% CI, 5.61-14.61), and being hospitalized (unadjusted OR, 3.41; 95% CI, 0.21-8.63). Despite the higher risk of testing positive, the researchers found the risk of being admitted to the ICU (unadjusted OR, 3.59; 95% CI, 0.21-54.55) and of death (unadjusted OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.03-6.59) were not statically significant.
We need to describe also the outcomes of patients that stop biologics and get COVID‑19 since the actual available studies describe only patients that stay on biologics or were focused on psoriatic patient compliance during the pandemic. We have a dearth of data on patients stopping biologics and getting COVID.
Our team also proved that COVID‑19 knowledge helped psoriatic patients not to discontinue or even modify biological therapies. My suggestion to dermatologists is discuss with patients COVID‑19 evidence in the field of psoriasis in order to ensure and maintain high compliance in those chronic patients.