For the past three years, asthma researchers and other stakeholders have been working to understand and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with asthma. Much of the research has led to more questions than answers. So, we were pleased to see the release this month – Asthma Awareness Month – of a new review that elevates everything we know about the connections between the pandemic and asthma.
Authored by the National Heart and Lung Institute at the Imperial College, London, the review provides a useful synthesis of existing research and related conclusions. A few highlights:
- Data suggest poor asthma control, rather than asthma severity, is a risk factor for worse COVID-19 outcomes.
- Inhaled corticosteroids may have a protective effect against severe COVID outcomes, likely because they help individuals get their asthma well controlled.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with asthma.
- The rise of telehealth in the treatment of asthma provides new opportunities for clinical care, although inequitable access to telehealth is a concern.
- Public health interventions to prevent COVID-19 also reduce exposure to other respiratory viruses, reducing asthma exacerbations.