Patients with SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) have a higher risk of infection due to dysregulated immune system as well as long-term use of immunosuppressants (IS). This could influence the risk of COVID-19 and its outcome. We conducted a longitudinal prospective study across 15 rheumatology centres during the first wave of the pandemic to understand the risk factors contributing to COVID-19 in SLE patients. During the 6months follow-up, those who tested positive for COVID-19, their clinical course and outcome information were recorded. Through the study period (April-December 2020), 36/1379 lupus patients (2.9%) developed COVID-19. On analysing the COVID-19 positive versus negative cohort during the study period, male gender (adjusted RR 3.72, 95% C.I. 1.85,7.51) and diabetes (adjusted RR 2.94, 95% C.I. 1.28, 6.79) emerged as the strongest risk factors for COVID-19, in the adjusted analysis. There was no significant influence of organ involvement, hydroxychloroquine, glucocorticoid dosage (prednisolone< 7.5mg or ≥ 7.5mg/day) or IS on the risk of COVID-19. There was only one death (1/36) among the lupus patients due to COVID-19. Traditional risk factors rather than lupus disease process or IS influenced the risk of COVID-19 in our cohort.

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