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PEOPLE with asthma do not present an increased risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19, according to a new study.

Scientists at Bicêtre Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris / Université Paris-Saclay say their work suggests there is no evidence of increased illness or mortality in people with asthma.

In a group of 768 patients hospitalised from 15 March to 15 April 2020, 37 (4.8%) were asthmatic, a proportion broadly similar to the general population of the same age in France. These patients were younger than non-asthmatic patients hospitalised for COVID-19 pneumopathy and more often female.

None of the patients experienced a severe asthma attack warranting specific treatment on admission to hospital, confirming that this respiratory infection is less likely to exacerbate asthma than other respiratory viral infections.

Treatment of asthma was generally not altered during hospitalisation, noting that continued treatment does not appear to be detrimental in patients with asthma infected with CoV-2-SARS.

Further studies are underway to test the hypothesis that treatment of asthma may be beneficial during COVID-19.

This study shows that asthmatics are not over-represented in a cohort of patients hospitalised for severe lung disease related to CoV-2-SARS, that mortality in infected asthma patients is not increased compared to the general population, and that asthma treatment should be maintained in these patients.

The research is published in the European Respiratory Journal