A multinational report to characterise SARs-CoV-2 infection in people with cystic fibrosis



Rebecca Cosgriffa, Susannah Ahernb, Scott C. Bellc, Keith Brownleea, Pierre-Régis Burgeld, Cass Byrnese, Harriet Corvolf, Stephanie Y. Chengg, Alexander Elberth, Albert Faroh, Christopher H. Gossi, Vincent Gulmansj, Bruce C. Marshallh, Edward McKonek, Peter G. Middletonl, Rasa Ruseckaiteb, Anne L. Stephensonf,m, Siobhán B Carrn


a Cystic Fibrosis Trust, London, UK;

b Monash University, Melbourne, Australia;

c The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia;

d Université de Paris, Inserm U1016, Institut Cochin and Cochin Hospital, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP);

e University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand;

fTrousseau Hospital, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France;

g Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Toronto, Canada;

h Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Bethesda, US;

i University of Washington, Seattle, US;

j Dutch CF Foundation NCFS, Baarn, Netherlands;

k St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland;

l Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia;

m Toronto Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada;

n Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College London, UK


What was your research question?

We wanted to describe how SARS-CoV-2, knows as ‘COVID-19’ or ‘Novel Coronavirus’ affects people with cystic fibrosis.

Why is this important?

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) have been identified as vulnerable to COVID-19 by most countries. The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing very quickly. It is important that clinical teams looking after people with cystic fibrosis have timely information on what COVID-19 means for people with cystic fibrosis so they can give the best advice and medical care.

What did you do?

Representatives from 8 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, and the US) worked together to pool and analyse data submitted to each country’s CF Registry on people with CF who had tested positive for COVID-19 up until 13 April 2020.

What did you find? 

40 people with cystic fibrosis were reported as testing positive for COVID-19. 78% of these had symptoms, 22% did not. 11 of the 40 people had received a lung transplant. The group were between 15 and 59 years old, with only 1 under 16 years old. 38% of the group had CF-Related Diabetes, and 70% had a long-term bacterial lung infection.

13 people in the group were given oxygen, and 4 were admitted to intensive care with one needing invasive ventilation. 28 of the 40 have recovered from COVID-19. 12 cases are ongoing. No one in the group died.

What does this mean and reasons for caution? 

These are early reports, and we cannot be sure we have recorded all cases of COVID-19 in people with CF in the 8 countries. Several countries who are known to have cases of COVID-19 in their CF population were not able to take part.

The data suggest that people with cystic fibrosis following guidance to stay at home and avoid face-to-face interactions with people outside their household has been effective at protecting them from COVID-19. The medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on people with CF is not known.

What’s next? 

We will continue to collect data from the 8 participating countries, and additional countries will be invited to take part. We hope to publish more information in future, including follow up of these 40 people, and any more cases of COVID-19 in the CF population.

Original manuscript citation in PubMed


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