Koutsianas C, Chatzidionysiou K
Mediterr J Rheumatol 31 (Suppl 2) 247-252 [2020-09-00; online 2020-09-21]
As the worldwide burden of COVID-19 increases exponentially, healthcare systems are plagued by unprecedented pressure. In this setting, many rheumatologists across the globe have been recruited to support the front line, facing several unexpected challenges, but also providing valuable skills in combating COVID-19. At the same time, the rheumatic disease patient population may be especially vulnerable to such a rapidly contagious infectious disease and thus needs care and support that has to be provided quickly and efficiently. Clear advice on viral spread mitigation, precise guidelines on immunosuppressive treatment use and alternative methods of providing care, such as telemedicine, are a few of the rheumatologists' new challenges in caring for their patients in the COVID-19 era. Finally, among other specialties, rheumatologists hold a unique place in the fight against the hyper-inflammatory state caused by severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Given their vast experience in the use of biologic and targeted therapies, rheumatologists should lead the way in developing reliable scientific evidence for the optimal treatment of severe COVID-19.