We do not have much information on how the COVID-19 virus affects patients who use immunosuppressants, drugs which inhibit or reduce the activity of the immune system. There are various conflicting views on whether immune-suppressing drugs are beneficial or detrimental in patients with the disease. Methods: This study collected data from 10 hospitals in the UK and one in Italy between February and April 2020 in order to identify any association between the regular use of immunosuppressant medicines and survival in patients who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Results: 1184 patients were included in the study, and 10% of them were using immunosuppressants. Any immunosuppressant use was associated with increased risk of death, and the risk appeared to increase if the dose of the medicine was higher. Conclusion: We therefore recommend that patients who take immunosuppressant medicines routinely should carefully adhere to social distancing measures, and seek medical attention early during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We acknowledge the dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of the staff from participating centres across UK and Italy, two among the most
severely affected countries in Europe. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of our collaborators, National Institute of Health Research
(NIHR), Health Research Authority (HRA) in the UK and Ethics Committee of Policlinico Hospital Modena, which provided rapid approval
of COPE study and respective Institutions’ Research and Development Offices and Caldicott Guardians for their assistance and guidance. We
also thank COPE Study Sponsor, Cardiff University, Wales, UK.