COVID-19 Symptoms Are Attenuated in Moderate-to-Severe Atopic Dermatitis Patients Treated with Dupilumab

Benjamin Ungar, Jacob W. Glickman, Alexandra K. Golant, Celina Dubin, Olga Marushchak, Alyssa Gontzes, Daniela Mikhaylov, Giselle K. Singer, Danielle Baum, Nancy Wei, Antonio Sanin, Diana Gruenstein, Mark G. Lebwohl, Ana B. Pavel, Emma Guttman-Yassky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, we need to understand the impact of immunomodulatory medications on COVID-19 symptom severity in patients with inflammatory diseases, including the type 2/Th2 polarized skin disease, atopic dermatitis (AD). Objective: Because it is believed that type 1/Th1 immunity controls viral infections and that there is a Th1/Th2 counter-regulation, we hypothesized that Th2 targeting with the IL-4Rα-antagonist, dupilumab, in patients with moderate-to-severe AD would rebalance the Th1/Th2 axis, potentially leading to attenuated COVID-19 symptoms. Methods: A total of 1237 patients with moderate-to-severe AD in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology were enrolled in a registry. Patients were screened for COVID-19-related symptoms and assigned a severity score (asymptomatic [0]-fatal [5]). Scores were compared among 3 treatment groups: dupilumab (n = 632), other systemic treatments (n = 107), and limited/no treatment (n = 498). Demographic and comorbid covariates were adjusted by multivariate generalized logistic regression models. Results: The dupilumab-treated group showed reduced incidence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms versus other treatment groups. Dupilumab-treated patients were less likely to experience moderate-to-severe symptoms versus patients on other systemics (P = .01) and on limited/no treatment (P = .04), and less likely to experience any symptoms versus patients on other systemics (P = .01). This effect was seen in our entire cohort and in the subgroup of patients with verified COVID-19 or high-risk exposure. Conclusions: Patients on dupilumab experienced less severe COVID-19 manifestations and lesser symptoms compared with patients on other systemics and on limited/no treatment. These results suggest that Th2 modulation with dupilumab may have a protective effect on anti-viral immune response in patients with AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Biologics
  • COVID-19
  • Dupilumab
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Th2

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