COVID-19 is a novel pandemic that has had significant global health consequences. Similar to systemic autoimmune diseases, COVID-19 can present with heterogeneous and systemic clinical manifestations. To some extent, there are similarities in the immune response in both disease conditions, and organ damage in COVID-19 appears to be largely immune-mediated, similar to autoimmune diseases. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can disturb self-tolerance of host antigens at least in part through molecular mimicry. Indeed, the development of autoantibodies and sometimes organ-specific (e.g. GBS) or systemic (e.g. SLE-like disease) autoimmunity has been observed in COVID-19. Overall, more data are needed to further understand the relationship between COVID-19 and autoimmunity and characterize the risk and severity of COVID-19 in patients with preexisting autoimmune diseases.
Financial support and sponsorship
This study is supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation for Young Scientists of China (Grant No. 81502732) to Y.L., and an urgent grant of Hunan Province for fighting against coronavirus disease- 2019 epidemic (2020SK3005) to Q.L. A.H.S is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants number R01AI097134 and R01AR070148, and the Lupus Research Alliance.
Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2021;33(2):155-162. © 2021 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins