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Individuals With Well-Controlled Asthma Have Less Severe COVID-19 Outcomes Than Those with Uncontrolled Asthma

AAAAI News Release

August 10, 2021

April Presnell, Media & Member Communications Manager
(414) 272-6071

Those requiring clinical care for asthma or with a history of COPD were more likely to have worse COVID-19 outcomes, according to a new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, an official journal of the AAAAI.

Milwaukee, WI – New research published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), found that individuals with asthma who needed clinical care for their asthma within 12 months prior to their COVID-19 diagnosis had an increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. These study results reinforce how important it is for anyone with asthma to work with their healthcare provider to ensure their asthma is well controlled, especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Researchers collected data on COVID-19 patients using electronic medical records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California from March 1 to August 31, 2020. Medical codes were used to determine if these patients had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prior to their COVID-19 diagnosis. Researchers also separated the data further, with the active group accounting for any patients who’d had a clinical visit for asthma within the last 12 months, and the inactive group accounting for those who had not.

A total of 2,751 patients were in the inactive asthma group versus 2,775 in the active asthma group. Additionally, 820 patients had a history of COPD. Patients in the active asthma group had significantly higher odds of hospitalization, a need for intensive respiratory support (IRS), and ICU admission within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis compared to those with no history of asthma or COPD. A history of COPD was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization, IRS, and mortality within 60 days from COVID-19. Notably, researchers did not see a higher likelihood of mortality within 60 days for the active asthma group. Patients in the inactive asthma group saw no increased risk for any of the four COVID-19 outcomes.

“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,” said study author Anny H. Xiang, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. “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.”

Patients in the active asthma group who were using asthma medications were more than 25% less likely to have severe COVID-19 outcomes compared with those not taking asthma medications. While the odds for hospitalization, IRS and ICU admission were still higher than they were for those in the inactive asthma group, this study demonstrates how important asthma medications are for improving asthma control and therefore, COVID-19 outcomes. Future research is needed to take a closer look at asthma care, including medications, and how those factors impact COVID-19 severity. 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.

You can learn more about asthma on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website,

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

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