COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, is a global public health issue threatening millions of lives worldwide. Although the infection is mild in most of the affected individuals, it may cause severe clinical manifestations such as acute respiratory distress syndrome or cytokine storm leading to death. Children are affected less, and most experience a milder disease. As rheumatologists, we deal with the uncontrolled response of the immune system, and most of the drugs we use are either immune modulators or immunosuppressants. Thus, the rheumatologists participate in the multidisciplinary management of COVID-19 patients. On the other hand, our patients with rheumatic diseases constitute a vulnerable group in this pandemic. In this review, a systematic literature search was conducted utilizing MEDLINE/PubMed and Scopus databases, and 231 COVID-19 patients with rheumatic diseases have been identified. Only one of these patients was a child. Among these, 9 (3.9%) died due to COVID-19. In light of the current data, the aspects of COVID-19 resembling rheumatic diseases, the possible reasons for why children are affected less severely, the hypothetic role of available vaccines in preventing COVID-19, the unique position of patients with rheumatic diseases in this pandemic, and the use of anti-rheumatic drugs in COVID-19 treatment are discussed.
Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 virus; Familial Mediterranean fever; Rheumatic disease; SARS-CoV-2; Systemic lupus erythematosus.