The onset of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has raised many questions in the global rheumatology society regarding the clinical course of the disease, effectiveness and complications of SARS-SoV-2 vaccination.
The aim of this review is to analyze the information available up to date on the course of COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD), the frequency of complications in these patients, the effectiveness and side effects of vaccination against COVID-19. Various studies in Europe and the United States have found that the risk of severe COVID-19 in patients with ARD is similar to that in the general population. Negative prognostic factors are thought to be old age, comorbidity, moderate / high ARD activity, and corticosteroid (CS) intake at doses> 10 mg / day. Patients with systemic ARD are considered to be at higher risk of thromboembolic events due to chronic inflammation and / or the presence of antiphospholipid syndrome, as well as the nature of COVID-19 - an endothelial lesion causing thrombosis and microangiopathy. It is observed a higher risk of severe pneumonia in patients treated with Rituximab, as well as an increase in hospitalizations and deaths amongst them. The opposite trend is observed in patients treated with anti-TNF. With the development of vaccines against COVID-19, questions arise about their effectiveness in patients with ARD, as well as the frequency of complications associated with them. In these studies, slightly lower levels of neutralizing antibodies were observed in patients with ARD compared to the general population, most commonly associated with Methotrexate or targeted synthetic DMARDs. The most common side effects seen in these patients after vaccination are pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache. Complaints of the musculoskeletal system are more common in patients with ARD than in the general population. Exacerbations of the underlying disease following vaccination, requiring hospitalization, are rare.
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