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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on SLE: beyond the risk of infection
  1. Alice Horisberger,
  2. Laura Moi,
  3. Camillo Ribi and
  4. Denis Comte
  1. Service of Immunology and Allergy, Departement de medecine, Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Denis Comte; denis.comte{at}

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Dear editor,

The rapidly expanding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global health challenge and a source of anxiety amplified by the constant news stream. The mortality rate from COVID-19 is difficult to establish given the heterogeneity of reports and confounding factors such as difference in healthcare systems around the world. The occurrence of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and mortality are increased in the elderly and in patients with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory conditions. To date, neither autoimmune diseases nor immunosuppressants appear to be risk factors for serious complications associated with COVID-19. Transplant patients taking immunosuppressants do not appear more prone for severe COVID-19.1 In this unprecedented time, we must find the safest balance between protective measures by physical distancing and ensuring the best standards of care for patients with SLE.

SLE is an autoimmune disease prone to flare-ups that are linked to significant morbimortality. Immunosuppression-related infections are one of the leading causes of premature death in patients with SLE. However, there are currently no data to support a higher infection rate, an increased risk of …

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