Background: Patients with asthma are comparatively susceptible to respiratory viral infections and more likely to develop severe symptoms than people without asthma. During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is necessary to adequately evaluate the characteristics and outcomes of the population with asthma in the population tested for and diagnosed as having COVID-19. Objective: To perform a study to assess the impact of asthma on COVID-19 diagnosis, presenting symptoms, disease severity, and cytokine profiles. Methods: This was an analysis of a prospectively collected cohort of patients suspected of having COVID-19 who presented for COVID-19 testing at a tertiary medical center in Missouri between March 2020 and September 2020. We classified and analyzed patients according to their pre-existing asthma diagnosis and subsequent COVID-19 testing results. Results: Patients suspected of having COVID-19 (N = 435) were enrolled in this study. The proportions of patients testing positive for COVID-19 were 69.2% and 81.9% in the groups with asthma and without asthma, respectively. The frequencies of relevant symptoms were similar between the groups with asthma with positive and negative COVID-19 test results. In the population diagnosed as having COVID-19 (n = 343), asthma was not associated with several indicators of COVID-19 severity, including hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, mechanical ventilation, death due to COVID-19, and in-hospital mortality after multivariate adjustment. Patients with COVID-19 with asthma exhibited significantly lower levels of plasma interleukin-8 than patients without asthma (adjusted P = .02). Conclusion: The population with asthma is facing a challenge in preliminary COVID-19 evaluation owing to an overlap in the symptoms of COVID-19 and asthma. However, asthma does not increase the risk of COVID-19 severity if infected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-541.e2
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


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