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Biologics, spondylitis and COVID-19
  1. James Todd Rosenbaum1,
  2. Hedley Hamilton2,
  3. Dongseok Choi3,
  4. Michael H Weisman4,
  5. John D Reveille5,
  6. Kevin L Winthrop6
  1. 1 Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2 Any-3, London, UK
  3. 3 Public Health, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  4. 4 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  5. 5 Rheumatology, University Texas, Houston, Texas, USA
  6. 6 Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Todd Rosenbaum, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA; rosenbaj{at}

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for patients with rheumatic diseases because immune-mediated diseases as well as their treatment could adversely impact susceptibility to or severity of a viral infection.1 2 A recent study from New York City on 86 patients with COVID-19 infection and a history of immune-mediated disease seemed to show that the use of methotrexate, oral glucocorticoids or hydroxychloroquine increased the risk for hospitalisation,3 although the authors still concluded that the overall risk for hospitalisation is comparable to that described in the community. Since data to advise patients on these issues are scant and inconclusive, the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) is conducting a survey to gather information from patient experience.

The SAA contacted by email nearly 40 000 individuals who had previous interaction with the SAA. Between 10 April 2020 and 7 May 2020, 2992 patients completed an online survey and reported a history of spondylitis confirmed by a physician. The survey had been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Oregon Health & Science University. The respondents included 85.0% with ankylosing spondylitis and others with additional forms of spondyloarthroarthritis such as psoriatic spondyloarthritis. Of those patients who knew results of human leukocyte antigen …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors All authors except DC contributed to the design of the study. JTR, HH and DC performed the data analysis. JTR wrote this report. All authors critically reviewed it and edited it.

  • Funding The Spondylitis Association of America has provided support for this project. JTR receives support from the Grandmaison Fund for Autoimmunity Research, the William and Mary Bauman Foundation, the Stan and Madelle Rosenfeld Family Trust and Research to Prevent Blindness.

  • Competing interests JTR: consultant for Abbvie, Gilead, Novartis, UCB, Roche, Horizon, Corvus, Eyevensys; grant support: Pfizer, Horizon; Royalties: UpToDate. HH: owns Any-3. DC: none. MHW: consults: Novartis, UCB, Gilead, GSK. JR: consults: Novartis, UCB, Gilead, GSK. KLW: consults: Pfizer, Abbvie, UCB, Lilly, Galapagos, GSK, Roche, Gilead; research support: BMS, Pfizer.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the IRB of the Oregon Health & Science University, Study00021375.

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

  • Data availability statement The data on which this study are based are available by contacting Hedley Hamilton at