COVID-19 Cases in Spain Lower in Cystic Fibrosis vs General Population

Cystic fibrosis CAT scan
Cystic fibrosis CAT scan
Patients with cystic fibrosis in Spain may have a lower incidence of COVID-19 as well as lower associated mortality compared with the general population.

Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) may have a lower incidence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as well as lower associated mortality compared with the general population, according to findings from a study conducted in Spain and published in Respiratory Medicine.

For this retrospective observational study, investigators created a registry of Spanish patients with CF who had confirmed COVID-19 included individuals who were infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) between March 8, 2020, and May 16, 2020. Participants’ clinical and demographic characteristics were obtained from the European Cystic Fibrosis Society Patient Registry (ECFSPR). An 8-question survey, the CF-COVID19-Spain, was also administered to 39 CF specialists who participated in the ECFSPR to determine opinions about COVID-19 prevention.

A total of 8 patients with CF had COVID-19 during the 2-month period. Of these, 1 patient received a lung transplant during infection. The accumulated incidence of COVID-19 was 32 out of 10,000 people in patients with CF.  In contrast, the accumulated incidence of COVID-19 was 49 out of 10,000 people in the general population. None of the patients with CF died as a result of COVID-19, whereas the death rate in the general population with COVID-19 was 5.85 out of 10,000 people between March and May 2020.

Approximately 77% (n=30) of the Spanish specialists who received the CF-COVID19-Spain survey provided answers about COVID-19 prevention. The majority of respondents (60%) said patients with CF received their usual medication during the pandemic lockdown by courier from the hospital pharmacy. Approximately 37% and 23% of respondents said they had tested their patients with CF for COVID-19 if symptoms were suggestive of the disease or if a moderate or severe respiratory exacerbation was observed, respectively.

Study limitations included the small number of participants with CF coupled with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 as well as the restricted geographical location.

The researchers proposed that “thick respiratory secretions, their respiratory microbiota, and the virus-bacteria interaction in their lungs as being protective factors in patients with cystic fibrosis.”


Mondejar-Lopez P, Quintana-Gallego E, Giron-Moreno RM, et al. Impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with cystic fibrosis in Spain: incidence and results of the national CF COVID19-Spain survey [published online June 8, 2020]. Respir Med. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106062