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Gout, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the Risk of Death Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019: An Analysis of the UK Biobank

Author

ACR Open Rheumatol. 2021 Apr 15. doi: 10.1002/acr2.11252. Online ahead of print.

Ruth K Topless 1Amanda Phipps-Green 1Megan Leask 2Nicola Dalbeth 3Lisa K Stamp 4Philip C Robinson 5Tony R Merriman 2

Author Information

1 University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

2 University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

3 The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

4 University of Otago, Christchurch, Christchurch, New Zealand.

5 University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives for this study were to assess whether gout and/or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are risk factors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis and to assess whether gout and/or RA are risk factors for death from COVID-19.

Methods: We used data from the UK Biobank. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression was employed in the following analyses: analysis A, to test for association between gout and/or RA and COVID-19 diagnosis (n = 473,139); analysis B, to test for association between gout and/or RA and death from COVID-19 in a case-control cohort of people who died of or survived COVID-19 (n = 2059); analysis C, to test for association between gout and/or RA and death from COVID-19 in the entire UK Biobank cohort (n = 473,139).

Results: RA, but not gout, was associated with COVID-19 diagnosis in analysis A. Neither RA nor gout was associated with risk of death in the group diagnosed with COVID-19 in analysis B. However, RA was associated with risk of death related to COVID-19 by using the UK Biobank cohort in analysis C, independent of comorbidities and other measured risk factors (odds ratio [OR] 1.9; 95% confidence interval CI 1.2-3.0). Gout was not associated with death related to COVID-19 in the same UK Biobank analysis (OR 1.2; 95% CI 0.8-1.7).

Conclusion: RA is a risk factor for death from COVID-19 by using the UK Biobank cohort. These findings require replication in larger data sets that also allow for inclusion of a wider range of factors.