Introduction Recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic much concern has been raised about chronic diseases, which could possibly make patients more susceptible, and vulnerable to COVID-19. One of them, is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(SLE).
Objective This study has tried to find the prevalence of COVID-19 in SLE patients in Golestan province of Iran, and to characterize the clinical course of COVID-19 in these patients. This study has also sought to find possible correlation between the incidence of COVID-19, its clinical manifestations and the medication taken by SLE patients.
Methods We investigated patients who had been enrolled in our rheumatologic diseases registry system. Patients responded to a questionnaire which contained questions about their primary disease, comorbidities, medications, development of new symptoms, and medical services which they received, pertinent to COVID-19, during the period of COVID-19 outbreak. The data were analyzed using SPSS 16 software.
Results This investigation found 25 (7%) COVID-19 positive patients out of the 355 responders. 8 (40%) of them were hospitalized, out of which 2 (8%) required intensive care and later expired. COVID-19 incidence was significantly lower in the immunosuppressed group (2.2% vs 10% P-value 0.005). We didn’t find a significant correlation between hydroxychloroquine consumption, and the incidence of COVID-19 in SLE patients. Fever, fatigue, dyspnea, and dry cough were the most common clinical symptoms.
Conclusion Our research has shown that COVID-19 prevalence was lower in immunosuppressed patients. However, broader studies should be conducted to clarify the role of immunosuppression in the development of COVID-19. More research is required.