The Clinical Guidance Task Force has assembled best practices to help inform treatment decisions during this pandemic. Clinicians understandably have questions about the best way to manage their patients on immunosuppressive drugs, questions about how these agents might impact the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 or of having a poor outcome. Clinicians may have questions about how to handle unexposed patients, exposed patients without confirmed disease, as well as patients with mild or severe forms of COVID-19.
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The data available on these topics are limited and complex. However, members of this task force include infectious disease experts and experts in biologic and non-biologic therapies, and they have compiled a guidance document for clinicians that is now available on the ACR website. This document contains recommendations for adult patients with rheumatic disease and will be updated as new data become available. More detailed information about the modified Delphi methodology used to create these recommendations will be published soon.
Ongoing Guidance & Support from the ACR
The ACR encourages all members to submit data on their rheumatology patients with COVID-19 to the Global Rheumatology Alliance, which is sponsoring an international, case-reporting registry. Data from this registry will ultimately provide insights into outcomes for rheumatology patients in the setting of COVID-19. The ACR has played a critical role in spreading the word about the Alliance, helping disseminate data and performing other key functions, and the Alliance has recently become a section of the ACR.
The ACR will continue to provide ongoing guidance on this rapidly evolving situation via its website, which contains documents updated in real time. Documents are being added almost daily, so please check the website regularly. New documents are clearly highlighted, making them easier to find. Please also check your email frequently, as the ACR is sending regular updates to members as new resources become available. Also, do not hesitate to contact us with your concerns by emailing COVID@rheumatology.org. We will get back to you quickly.
The ACR is exploring the format for all future meetings and events, including this year’s annual meeting, ACR Convergence 2020. We will update you as information becomes available.
This is a time that requires resiliency, courage and a steadfast response. I have been so impressed and inspired by the dedication and teamwork demonstrated by so many members of the rheumatology community. I want to personally thank all my colleagues at the ACR—the chairs, the board of directors and the executive committee—for their tremendous work in this effort. I also want to thank the amazing ACR staff, who have worked such long hours to make up-to-date information available to our membership. I would like to thank the task forces for their formidable work in preparing guidance documents for the rheumatology community.