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National registry for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (IRD) infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Germany (ReCoVery): a valuable mean to gain rapid and reliable knowledge of the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 infections in patients with IRD
  1. Rebecca Hasseli1,
  2. Ulf Mueller-Ladner1,
  3. Tim Schmeiser2,
  4. Bimba F Hoyer3,
  5. Andreas Krause4,
  6. Hanns-Martin Lorenz5,
  7. Anne Constanze Regierer6,
  8. Jutta G Richter7,
  9. Anja Strangfeld6,
  10. Reinhard E Voll8,
  11. Alexander Pfeil9,
  12. Hendrik Schulze-Koops10 and
  13. Christof Specker11
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Campus Kerckhoff, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Saint Josef Hospital, Wuppertal, Germany
  3. 3 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Clinic for Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  4. 4 Department of Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Osteology, Immanuel Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  5. 5 Department of Rheumatology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  6. 6 Epidemiology Unit, German Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany
  7. 7 Department of Rheumatology and Hiller Research Unit, Heinrich-Heine-University, Medical Faculty, Duesseldorf, Germany
  8. 8 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  9. 9 Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Jena, Jena, Germany
  10. 10 Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine IV, University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  11. 11 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, KEM Kliniken Essen-Mitte,Essen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Rebecca Hasseli; r.hasseli{at}


Objectives Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (IRD) infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be at risk to develop a severe course of COVID-19. The influence of immunomodulating drugs on the course of COVID-19 is unknown. To gather knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 infections in patients with IRD, we established a registry shortly after the beginning of the pandemic in Germany.

Methods Using an online questionnaire (, a nationwide database was launched on 30 March 2020, with appropriate ethical and data protection approval to collect data of patients with IRD infected with SARS-CoV-2. In this registry, key clinical and epidemiological parameters—for example, diagnosis of IRD, antirheumatic therapies, comorbidities and course of the infection—are documented.

Results Until 25 April 2020, data from 104 patients with IRD infected with SARS-CoV-2 were reported (40 males; 63 females; 1 diverse). Most of them (45%) were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, 59% had one or more comorbidities and 42% were treated with biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Hospitalisation was reported in 32% of the patients. Two-thirds of the patients already recovered. Unfortunately, 6 patients had a fatal course.

Conclusions In a short time, a national registry for SARS-CoV2-infected patients with IRD was established. Within 4 weeks, 104 cases were documented. The registry enables to generate data rapidly in this emerging situation and to gain a better understanding of the course of SARS-CoV2-infection in patients with IRD, with a distinct focus on their immunomodulatory therapies. This knowledge is valuable for timely information of physicians and patients with IRD, and shall also serve for the development of guidance for the management of patients with IRD during this pandemic.

  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Imported
  • Health services research

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  • RH, UM-L, TS, HS-K and CS contributed equally

  • Contributors RH, UM-L, TS, HS-K and CS performed the study design. RH performed the research, analysed, and interpreted the data. RH, UM-L, TS, HS-K and CS wrote the manuscript. RH, UM-L, TS, BFH, AK, H-ML, ACR, JGR, AS, REV, HS-K and CS performed physician recruitment. All authors contributed to preparation of the project, and read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding RH was supported by the Justus-Liebig University Giessen Clinician Scientist Program in Biomedical Research (JLU-CAREER) to work on this registry.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study has been approved by the ethics committee of the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (#52-50), Germany.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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