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Thoughts on COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases
  1. Anca D Askanase1,
  2. Leila Khalili1 and
  3. Jill P Buyon2
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology, NYU Langone Health, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anca D Askanase; ada20{at}


Over the 2 months since coronavirus first appeared in China, cases have emerged on every continent, and it is clear that patients with autoimmune diseases might also be affected. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious viral illness with a mortality rate approaching 2%. Here we discuss the challenges that patients with autoimmune diseases might face and the information on using immunomodulatory therapies like chloroquine, tocilizumab and baricitinib to quench the cytokine storm in patients with very severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

  • autoimmune diseases
  • inflammation
  • cytokines

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  • Contributors Authors have contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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