The impact of COVID-19 in rare autoimmune diseases

Disease - Lupus, vasculitis

Lead applicant - Dr Megan Rutter

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Clinical Research Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £154,695.00

Start date - 1 September 2021

Reference - 22727

What are the aims of this research?

This research aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people with rare autoimmune rheumatic conditions to identify risks and inform clinical guidelines and policies such as shielding and vaccinations.

Why is this research important?

People with rare autoimmune diseases (such as lupus, vasculitis and scleroderma) have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. People with these conditions are more likely to have other conditions such heart or kidney disease, making them more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Research from the first wave of the pandemic has shown that people with rare autoimmune conditions have an increased COVID-19 infection rate and death rate compared to the rest of the general population.

To better understand the how COVID-19 impacts people with rare autoimmune conditions, researchers will study COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalisation and death during the second wave of the pandemic for people with rare autoimmune conditions compared to the general population. The researchers will also assess the effects of immunosuppressive treatments on COVID-19 infection and the impact of shielding has on COVID-19 rates. The effectiveness of vaccinations preventing COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death compared to the rest of the population will also be assessed.

How will these findings benefit the patients?

The results from this study will generate data that will assist charities and medical organisations in writing clinical guidelines and advice on COVID-19 for people living with rare autoimmune conditions. The results will also inform health policy on shielding and vaccination for this group.