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Correspondence on ‘Factors associated with COVID-19-related death in people with rheumatic diseases: results from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance physician-reported registry’
  1. James Todd Rosenbaum1,2,
  2. Michael H Weisman3,
  3. Cassie Shafer4,
  4. Elin Aslanyan4,
  5. Richard A Howard4,
  6. Kimberly Ogle1,
  7. Hedley Hamilton5,
  8. John D Reveille6,
  9. Kevin L Winthrop7,
  10. Dongseok Choi8
  1. 1 Departments of Medicine, Ophthalmology, and Cell Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2 Legacy Devers Eye Institute, Portland, Oregon, USA
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4 Spondylitis Association of America, Van Nuys, California, USA
  5. 5 Any-3, London, UK
  6. 6 Rheumatology, University of Texas, Houston, Texas, USA
  7. 7 School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  8. 8 Public Health, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Todd Rosenbaum, Departments of Medicine, Ophthalmology, and Cell Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA; rosenbaj{at}

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Strangfeld and colleagues recently reported that sulfasalazine usage was a risk factor for death from COVID-19 with an HR of 3.6, roughly comparable to the HR from the use of rituximab.1 This conclusion was based on data provided by rheumatologists for patients with a broad spectrum of rheumatic diseases.

We have previously reported in ARD on a survey of 2992 patients with spondyloarthritis and their experience with COVID-19.2 The survey was reviewed and approved by the Oregon Health & Science University Institutional Review Board. The survey design included input from a patient. At the time of that initial report in spring 2020, we had only 14 subjects with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. We have continued to follow up this cohort longitudinally. We now have data from 4310 respondents who were surveyed from 10 April 2020 to 4 March 2021. Subjects were asked for follow-up information on multiple occasions with 66.3% of the patient cohort providing updated information at least once. The cohort with spondyloarthritis includes 2734 women, 1559 men and 17 non-binary respondents. The respondents came from 72 countries, but 63.5% of the respondents were from the USA. The median age of the respondents was 51 years. Among the respondents with spondyloarthritis, 84.5% self-described their diagnosis as ankylosing spondylitis. At the time of the data lock on 4 March 2021, 212 …

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  • Contributors All authors participated in the design of the survey instrument. All authors read and approved the manuscript, suggested edits, and provided critical input and suggestions. JTR wrote the initial draft of the manuscript and conceived of the study. DC did the statistical analysis. HH participated in the data retrieval. KO liaised with the institutional review board.

  • Funding Web services were donated by Any-3 London. Abbvie has provided funding to the Spondylitis Association of America in support of this survey but did not participate in the design of the survey, the interpretation of results or the writing of the manuscript. We are grateful to Donna Grims, Emily Papaspyru, Adam Dale and Ian Burton, each of whom assisted in data retrieval. JTR receives support from the William and Mary Bauman Family Foundation, the Stan and Madelle Rosenfeld Family Trust, and the Grandmaison Fund for Autoimmunity Research.

  • Competing interests HH owns Any-3. CS, EA and RAH are employees of the Spondylitis Association of America. JTR has received consulting fees from Abbvie, Roche, Gilead, Novartis, Santen, Kyverna, Roivant, Revolo, Corvus, Horizon and UCB; royalties from UpToDate; and research grant support from Pfizer and Horizon. MHW has received support from Novartis, UCB, GSK and Pfizer. RAH has consulted for Novartis and owns stocks in Abbvie, Amgen, BMS, GSK, Johnson and Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Teva, UCB and Viatris. KLW has received support from BMS, Pfizer, Abbvie, Eli Lilly, Galapagos, Gilead, BMS, Regeneron, Sanofi, Astra Zeneca and Novartis. The other authors report no conflicts of interest.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, conduct, reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

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

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