A registry has launched to help researchers understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with rheumatological conditions.

The CORE-UK study aims to gather evidence about the experience of patients with rheumatological conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis during the pandemic. This will help to develop evidence-based guidance on the risk COVID-19 poses to these patients.

Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation that affects the connecting or supporting structures of the body — most commonly the joints, but also sometimes the tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. This includes conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and lupus.

The study will collects de-identified data from volunteers with rheumatological conditions and data will be held anonymously. The information will help clinicians determine the risk the infection poses to patients with rheumatological conditions. It will assist in determining whether medications for arthritis influence COVID-19 infection outcomes, and the influence of the infection on the rheumatological diseases themselves.

The study is part of a large collaborative global effort to provide clarity for the rheumatological community, and is co-led by Professor Matt Brown, our BRC Director.

Professor Brown said: “We don’t yet know how COVID-19 affects patients who also have rheumatological conditions. As we know that COVID-19 complications can involve inflammation, it’s vital that we understand how the disease affects people who are already prone to inflammation. Understanding the experiences of rheumatology patients will be vital to us ensuring that rheumatology patients that have COVID-19 are treated in the best possible way.

“It might be that certain treatments are more appropriate for these patients, or that there are other physical or psychological effects of the pandemic on these patients that we need to consider. We’re incredibly grateful to the patients contributing to this study for sharing their experiences.”

People with rheumatological conditions who have had COVID-19 can submit to the registry online. Clinicians with eligible patients are invited to share the registry.