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Control Medication for Those With Asthma Could Help Avoid Severe COVID-19

The active asthma group was not associated with a higher likelihood of mortality within 60 days.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, has found that individuals with well-controlled asthma have a reduced chance of severe COVID-19 outcomes than those with uncontrolled asthma.

Results from the study were published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

“Anyone with asthma should continue to work with their healthcare provider to ensure they are getting the best treatment for their asthma, which leads to better asthma control and decreases the likelihood of severe COVID-19 outcomes,” Zhanghua Chen, a co-author on the study said.

For the study, the team of investigators collected data from electronic medical records of 61,338 patients who had a confirmed infection with COVID-19 from March to August of 2021. The majority of the patients were women, with a mean age of 43.9.

The team then used medical codes to determine which of the patients had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prior to their diagnosis with COVID-19. In all, 2,751 patients were in the inactive asthma group and 2,775 were in the active asthma group.

Findings from the study showed that the patients in the active asthma group had significantly higher odds of hospitalization, a need for intensive respiratory support and ICU admission within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis.

Additionally, a history of COPD was linked with a higher risk of hospitalization and death within 60 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“This study went beyond examining asthma’s impact on COVID-19 outcomes, and instead focused on how COVID-19 outcomes might change for asthma patients depending on their level of asthma control,” Anny H. Xiang, PhD, an author on the study said. “We also saw that even in patients with active asthma, if they were using asthma medications their odds of worsened COVID-19 outcomes decreased, which demonstrates just how important these medications are.”