Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers around the world have focused their efforts on studying the impact of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on COVID-19 outcomes following the infection. Patients with IBD worry about an increased risk of adverse effects from COVID-19 infection and a potentially higher likelihood of a breakthrough case in which COVID-19 infection occurs in a fully-vaccinated individual.
The literature review, “Recent advances in clinical practice: Management of inflammatory bowel disease during the COVID-19 pandemic,” was recently published in the journal Gut in April 2022.
A group of researchers from the University of Exeter and the Chinese University of Hong Kong worked together to compile data published on patients with IBD and COVID-19 infection to compose the review. They concluded that immunosuppression resulting from corticosteroid medication use, but not biological, was unfortunately linked to an increased occurrence of adverse effects from COVID-19 infection.
However, no data show that patients with IBD who have received all of the available vaccine doses and booster shots are more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than individuals who have not been diagnosed with IBD. Furthermore, researchers found that if a patient with IBD does have a breakthrough case of COVID-19, they are not more likely to be hospitalized than individuals without IBD.
Overall, vaccination recommendations for patients with IBD remain consistent with those in the general population. IBD patients should receive three SARS-CoV-2 vaccines with an additional booster shot as it becomes available to them. Studies continue to research the relationship between IBD and COVID-19 risk and outcomes.
Lin, S., Lau, L. H., Chanchlani, N., Kennedy, N. A., & Ng, S. C. (2022). Recent advances in clinical practice: management of inflammatory bowel disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gut, gutjnl-2021-326784. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2021-326784