As the world navigates the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there is a growing need to assess its impact in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Patients with SLE are a unique population when considering the risk of contracting COVID-19 and infection outcomes. The use of systemic glucocorticoids and immunosuppressants, and underlying organ damage from SLE are potential susceptibility factors. Most patients with SLE have evidence of high type I interferon activity, which may theoretically act as an antiviral line of defense or contribute to the development of a deleterious hyperinflammatory response in COVID-19. Other immunopathogenic mechanisms of SLE may overlap with those described in COVID-19, thus, studies in SLE could provide some insight into immune responses occurring in severe cases of the viral infection. We reviewed the literature to date on COVID-19 in patients with SLE and provide an in-depth review of current research in the area, including immune pathway activation, epidemiology, clinical features, outcomes, and the psychosocial impact of the pandemic in those with autoimmune disease.
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