SLE ( Systemic Lupus Erythematosus )

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ( SLE ) is the most common form of lupus. Widespread inflammation and tissue damage of joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels occur due to the immune system attacking its own healthy tissues. Below are COVID news and research updates that specifically relate to SLE.

Autoimmune Diseases Reported to be Triggered by SARS-CoV-2

The group at the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases of the Sheba Medical Center and the Laboratory of the Mosaic of Autoimmunity at Saint Petersburg State University have comprehensively investigated and reported the association between various common pathogenic viruses and the development of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases. In light of the current global pandemic, they have also shifted their focus to include a recent (December 2020) review of the appearance of autoimmune diseases reported to be triggered by a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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The VAXICOV Study, Autoimmune Disease and Vaccination Concerns

The results of the international VAccinations against COVid-19 (VAXICOV) study were published this week, revealing patient concerns and expectations around receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Patients with systemic autoimmune or inflammatory rheumatic diseases were asked to participate in the online survey across 56 countries. Health care workers were also included as a control group. The most commonly documented autoimmune conditions were systemic lupus erythematosus, spondyloarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The median score for patients who reported “being afraid to get infected” with COVID-19 was 8, and afraid to “develop severe COVID-19” was 9. That being said, only 54.2% of patients with systemic autoimmune or rheumatic disease were willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to seeing their specialist. 32.2% of patients were uncertain and 13% stated they were unwilling.

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Similarities Between COVID-19 and Autoimmune Disease

Recent studies have demonstrated the distinct relationship between the infectious disease COVID-19 and autoimmune disease. The review titled “COVID-19 and Autoimmune Diseases” by Yu Liu, Amr Sawalha, and Qianjin Lu delves into the most recent research on the similarities, which include: dysregulated immune responses, the promise of immunomodulatory drugs to treat both conditions, the detection of certain autoantibodies, and the development of autoimmune diseases after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Investigating the relationship between these diseases is critical in preventing and treating COVID-19, as well as understanding the risks for individuals living with autoimmune disease.

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