Children with asthma had improved outcomes during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely because of lower exposure to triggers, according to the results of a recent study published in the journal Allergy.

Researchers conducted a multinational, cross-sectional case-control study in children with asthma to determine what effects, if any, the COVID-19 pandemic had on outcomes in childhood asthma. Outcomes of interest included frequency of acute events such as upper or lower respiratory tract infections, asthma attacks, episodes of fever, emergency visits, and hospital admissions.

Among the 1559 children enrolled from 25 pediatric departments in 15 countries, 1054 children were in the asthma group and 505 were matched control participants. When outcomes were analyzed, children with asthma were not at an increased risk for lower respiratory tract infections, episodes of pyrexia, emergency visits, or hospital admissions during the pandemic. However, children with asthma did have an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infection compared with the control participants during the pandemic (P =.005).


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For each type of acute event, the strongest predictor was the number of events experienced by the participants in the previous year (P <.001 for all analyses). In addition, when compared to the previous year, children with asthma did experience fewer upper respiratory tract infections, episodes of pyrexia, asthma attacks, emergency visits, and hospitalizations related to asthma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Childhood asthma outcomes…were improved during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, probably because of reduced exposure to asthma triggers and increased treatment adherence,” the study authors wrote. “The decreased frequency of acute episodes does not support the notion that childhood asthma may be a risk factor for COVID-19.”

Disclosure: This clinical trial was supported by AstraZeneca, Novartis, and Sanofi. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

Reference

Papadopoulos NG, Mathioudakis AG, Custovic A, et al; for PeARL collaborators and the PeARL Think Tank. Childhood asthma outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic: findings from the PeARL multi-national cohort. Allergy. Published online February 20, 2021. doi:10.1111/all.14787