Autumn 2023 Press Review – Rheumatology

April 2023 to July 2023

Authors: Anastasia Madenidou and Juan Camilo Sarmiento

Rheumatology (Oxford)

COVID-19 vaccine safety in pregnant and breastfeeding patients with autoimmune disease

Andreoli et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead382) investigated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women with autoimmune diseases (AID) in the COVID-19 Vaccination in Autoimmune Diseases (COVAD) study. Adverse events (AE) were significantly more frequent in pregnant than in non-pregnant patients (overall AE 45% vs 26%, P = 0.01), but no difference was found in comparison with pregnant healthy controls (HC). No difference in AE was observed between breastfeeding patients and HC. Post-vaccination disease flares were reported by 17.5% of pregnant and 20% of breastfeeding patients.

Association between periodontal disease and the development of inflammatory arthritis in UK Biobank

The UK Biobank is a large-scale population-based prospective observational cohort study containing biomedical data from more than half a million participants. Using the UK Biobank, Yun et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead345) investigated the association between periodontal disease and the development of inflammatory arthritides in the general population. Self-reported periodontal disease was associated with inflammatory arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis.

Protein biomarkers predictive of treatment response to etanercept in patients with RA

Ling et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead321/7211655) aimed to identify pretreatment proteomic biomarkers associated with RA clinical outcome measures in patients starting etanercept. Using a discovery dataset of 180 RA patients, they identified several putative protein biomarkers of treatment response to etanercept, one of which was replicated in a validation cohort of 58 patients.

Prediction of SLE prognosis with serial anti-dsDNA measurement

Using a multinational longitudinal cohort, Leo et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead231) investigated the usefulness of serial anti-dsDNA testing in predicting flare in SLE patients who are persistently anti-dsDNA positive. The key messages include: anti-dsDNA results can fluctuate but are persistently positive in nearly one-third of SLE patients. Anti-dsDNA results predict flares, including in patients who are persistently positive. Larger fluctuations in anti-dsDNA are more predictive of flares.

Risk of COVID-19 mortality in patients with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases

In a UK-based study, Rutter et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead150/7108765) calculated the rates of COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related death among people with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases (RAIRD) during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and described the impact of corticosteroids on outcomes. The main conclusions were that people with RAIRD had the same risk of COVID-19 infection, but a 2.76-fold increased risk of COVID-19-related death compared with the general population, with corticosteroids associated with increased risk.

Validation of a patient-reported outcome instrument in SSc-related Raynaud’s

Pauling et al. (10.1093/rheumatology/kead371) validated a novel patient-reported outcome (PRO) instrument [the 27-item Assessment of Systemic Sclerosis-Associated Raynaud’s Phenomenon (ASRAP) and the 10-item short-form (ASRAP-SF) questionnaires] for assessing the severity and impact of Raynaud’s phenomenon in systemic sclerosis.

Anastasia Madenidou
Anastasia is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre of Musculoskeletal Research, University of Manchester, UK. Her research work focuses on omics techniques in lupus-spectrum disorders. Anastasia is the Deputy Chair of the British Rheumatology  Society Trainee Committee and a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.

Juan Camilo Sarmiento
Juan C is a Rheumatologist and Clinical Research Fellow at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. His main research interests include the validation of biomarkers in RA-ILD and the utility of ultrasonography in systemic autoimmune diseases. Juan C is a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.

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