BACKGROUND: To date, data about prevalence and clinical impact of viral hepatitis in COVID-19 are scarce and conflicting.
METHODS: We conducted an observational, retrospective study including all subjects tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from March to May 2020. We evaluated prevalence of chronic viral hepatitis and we performed a matched cohort analysis of patients with and without chronic viral hepatitis comparing COVID-related outcomes.
RESULTS: 980 subjects resulted positive to SARS-CoV-2 on oropharyngeal swabs. Among them 12 (1,2%) were HBsAg positive and 6 (0,6%) had detectable HCV RNA. No one was receiving antiviral therapy. None of these had a documented liver cirrhosis.
We identified 80 SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals with negative viral markers for HBV and HCV for the matched analysis. No statistical differences in hospitalization, need for MV and mortality rates (p 0.79, p 0.28 and p 0.8, respectively) were found. Although not statistically significant (p 0.12), a higher rate of those positive for viral hepatitis were admitted to ICU (29% Vs 15%). Median time of virus clearance was 27.5 (IQR 20,38) days, with no difference between the two groups (p 0.39, 95% CI (-12;4.8)). We found older age and male sex as factors associated with worse outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Our analysis documented similar rates of chronic viral hepatitis among subjects with SARS-CoV-2 infection and general population. Furthermore, in our population, pre-existing viral liver infection did not have any impact on the clinical and virological course of COVID-19.