Environmental and societal factors associated with COVID-19-related death in people with rheumatic disease: an observational study

COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Registry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Differences in the distribution of individual-level clinical risk factors across regions do not fully explain the observed global disparities in COVID-19 outcomes. We aimed to investigate the associations between environmental and societal factors and country-level variations in mortality attributed to COVID-19 among people with rheumatic disease globally. Methods: In this observational study, we derived individual-level data on adults (aged 18–99 years) with rheumatic disease and a confirmed status of their highest COVID-19 severity level from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance (GRA) registry, collected between March 12, 2020, and Aug 27, 2021. Environmental and societal factors were obtained from publicly available sources. The primary endpoint was mortality attributed to COVID-19. We used a multivariable logistic regression to evaluate independent associations between environmental and societal factors and death, after controlling for individual-level risk factors. We used a series of nested mixed-effects models to establish whether environmental and societal factors sufficiently explained country-level variations in death. Findings: 14 044 patients from 23 countries were included in the analyses. 10 178 (72·5%) individuals were female and 3866 (27·5%) were male, with a mean age of 54·4 years (SD 15·6). Air pollution (odds ratio 1·10 per 10 μg/m3 [95% CI 1·01–1·17]; p=0·0105), proportion of the population aged 65 years or older (1·19 per 1% increase [1·10–1·30]; p<0·0001), and population mobility (1·03 per 1% increase in number of visits to grocery and pharmacy stores [1·02–1·05]; p<0·0001 and 1·02 per 1% increase in number of visits to workplaces [1·00–1·03]; p=0·032) were independently associated with higher odds of mortality. Number of hospital beds (0·94 per 1-unit increase per 1000 people [0·88–1·00]; p=0·046), human development index (0·65 per 0·1-unit increase [0·44–0·96]; p=0·032), government response stringency (0·83 per 10-unit increase in containment index [0·74–0·93]; p=0·0018), as well as follow-up time (0·78 per month [0·69–0·88]; p<0·0001) were independently associated with lower odds of mortality. These factors sufficiently explained country-level variations in death attributable to COVID-19 (intraclass correlation coefficient 1·2% [0·1–9·5]; p=0·14). Interpretation: Our findings highlight the importance of environmental and societal factors as potential explanations of the observed regional disparities in COVID-19 outcomes among people with rheumatic disease and lay foundation for a new research agenda to address these disparities. Funding: American College of Rheumatology and European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e603-e613
JournalThe Lancet Rheumatology
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MID reports research support from Pfizer for unrelated work. AS reports grants from a consortium of 13 companies (AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celltrion, Fresenius Kabi, Lilly, Mylan, Hexal, Merck, Pfizer, Roche, Samsung, Sanofi-Aventis, and UCB) supporting the German RABBIT register, and personal fees from lectures for AbbVie, Merck, Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer, outside of the submitted work. EFM reports that the Portuguese League Against Rheumatic Diseases received support for specific activities: grants from Abbvie, Novartis, Janssen-Cilag, Lilly Portugal, Sanofi, Grünenthal SA, Merck, Celgene, Medac, Pharmakern, the Global Alliance for Patient Access; grants and non-financial support from Pfizer; and non-financial support from Grünenthal GmbH, outside of the submitted work. KLH reports receiving speaker fees from Abbvie and grant income from Bristol Myers Squibb, UCB, and Pfizer, unrelated to this work. KLH is also supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. LG reports research grants from Amgen, Galapagos, Janssen, Lilly, Pfizer, Sandoz, and Sanofi; and consulting fees from AbbVie, Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Biogen, Celgene, Galapagos, Gilead, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Samsung Bioepis, Sanofi-Aventis, and UCB, all unrelated to this work. LC has not received fees or personal grants from any laboratory, but her institute works by contract for laboratories among other institutions, such as Abbvie Spain, Eisai, Gebro Pharma, Merck Sharp & Dohme España, SA Pharma, Novartis Farmaceutica, Pfizer, Roche Farma, Sanofi, Aventis, Astellas Pharma, Actelion Pharmaceuticals España, Grünenthal GmbH, and UCB Pharma. JAS has performed consultancy for AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Myers Squibb, Gilead, Inova Diagnostics, Janssen, and Optum, unrelated to this work. LW has received consulting or speaking fees from Aurinia Pharma, outside of the submitted work. MFU-G reports grant or research support from Jannsen and Pfizer, unrelated to this work. The Swedish Rheumatology Quality Register, with LL as register holder, has agreements with Abbvie, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Gilead, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Sobi, and UCB for register data analyses, unrelated to this work. CR has received consulting or speaker fees from Abbvie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, BMS, Biogen, Eli Lilly, Glenmark, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Mylan, and Pfizer; and grants from Biogen, Lilly, and Nordic Pharma, all unrelated to this work. MJS has received speaker fees from Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Novartis, and Pfizer. AR has received speaker fees from Janssen, Pfizer, and Novartis. GP-E reports reports personal consulting fees, speaking fees, or both from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Sandoz, and Sanofi, outside of the submitted work. PCR reports personal consulting fees, speaking fees, or both from Abbvie, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer, and UCB; and travel assistance from Roche. PMM has received consulting fees, speaker fees, or both from Abbvie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and UCB, unrelated to this work. PMM is supported by the NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre. ES is a Board Member of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a patient-run, volunteer-based organisation whose activities are largely supported by independent grants from pharmaceutical companies. JWL has received research funding from Pfizer, outside of the submitted work. JSH is supported by grants from the Rheumatology Research Foundation and has salary support from the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance. JSH has performed consulting for Novartis, Sobi, and Biogen, unrelated to this work. PS reports honorarium for doing social media for American College of Rheumatology journals. RG reports personal fees, speaking fees, or both from Abbvie, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer, and Cornerstones; and travel assistance from Pfizer. SB reports non-branded consulting fees for AbbVie, Horizon, and Novartis; and is employed by Pfizer. ZSW reports grant support from Bristol Myers Squibb and Principia–Sanofi; and performed consultancy for Viela Bio and MedPace, outside of the submitted work. ZSW's work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. JY has performed consulting for Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Aurinia, and AstraZeneca, outside of the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests.

Funding Information:
We acknowledge financial support from the American College of Rheumatology and European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology. The authors were not paid by a pharmaceutical company or other agency to write this article. MAG is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant numbers K01 AR070585 and K24 AR074534 [JY]). KDW is supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Rheumatology Research Foundation Scientist Development award. JAS is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant numbers K23 AR069688, R03 AR075886, L30 AR066953, P30 AR070253, and P30 AR072577), the Rheumatology Research Foundation (K Supplement Award and R Bridge Award), the Brigham Research Institute, and the R. Bruce and Joan M. Mickey Research Scholar Fund. NJP is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (T32-AR-007258). AD-G is supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rheumatology Research Foundation. RH was supported by the Justus-Liebig University Giessen Clinician Scientist Program in Biomedical Research to work on this registry. JY is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K24 AR074534 and P30 AR070155). The views expressed in this Article are those of the authors and participating members of the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance, and do not necessarily represent the views of the American College of Rheumatology, the European League Against Rheumatism, the UK National Health Service, the NIHR, the UK Department of Health, or any other organisation.

Funding Information:
We acknowledge financial support from the American College of Rheumatology and European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology. The authors were not paid by a pharmaceutical company or other agency to write this article. MAG is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant numbers K01 AR070585 and K24 AR074534 [JY]). KDW is supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Rheumatology Research Foundation Scientist Development award. JAS is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grant numbers K23 AR069688, R03 AR075886, L30 AR066953, P30 AR070253, and P30 AR072577), the Rheumatology Research Foundation (K Supplement Award and R Bridge Award), the Brigham Research Institute, and the R. Bruce and Joan M. Mickey Research Scholar Fund. NJP is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (T32-AR-007258). AD-G is supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rheumatology Research Foundation. RH was supported by the Justus-Liebig University Giessen Clinician Scientist Program in Biomedical Research to work on this registry. JY is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K24 AR074534 and P30 AR070155). The views expressed in this Article are those of the authors and participating members of the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance, and do not necessarily represent the views of the American College of Rheumatology, the European League Against Rheumatism, the UK National Health Service, the NIHR, the UK Department of Health, or any other organisation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

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