It seems like a very long time since the alpha-1 community was facing the uncertain prospect of the COVID-19 pandemic with the concern that patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency were at a potentially higher risk than the general population. Some of you may remember the ‘briefings’ that I wrote in April 2020 and the subsequent posting about the IMCA1 study that the EARCO group instituted in order to establish how much of a risk COVID-19 posed.
Despite commencing the study in June 2020, the effective avoidance strategies that you had all adopted, resulted in a very slow accumulation of cases of COVID-19 in patients with Pi ZZ and Pi SZ deficiency. However, we finally collected sufficient data to be able to conclude enough for an informative publication. Thankfully, we were able to demonstrate that our worst fears were not realised although, very sadly, there was still some patients with alpha-1 who did not survive COVID-19. The following link will take you to the paper (https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1fSQA14HoWFzIK) and, if you are interested in reading it, you will need to do so as soon as possible since the link will expire after 9th September and will only then be available through the journal at a cost.
The pandemic is still not over and, although you will see from the paper that the risk is less than had been anticipated by many experts in the field, avoidance strategies still advisable.
On behalf of the EARCO researchers I would like to thank the UK alpha one patient community for supporting this initiative so effectively, particularly at a time of such uncertainty and likely anxiety.
Professor David Parr, University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire