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Improved asthma control during the COVID-19 pandemic: are there lessons to be learnt?
  1. Imogen P Skene1,
  2. Paul E Pfeffer1,2
  1. 1 Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul E Pfeffer, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London EC1A 7BE, UK; p.pfeffer{at}

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While the health impacts of acute COVID-19 pneumonia and long COVID have rightly been the focus of major medical research over the last 12 months, for many patients and healthcare providers an equal concern has been the impact of the pandemic on long-term conditions. Respiratory conditions are among the most common chronic diseases across patients of different ages. Three articles in this issue provide an informative lens through which to study the impact of the pandemic on airways disease, reporting significant reductions in severe exacerbations in different settings.

Two research groups have addressed this issue by examining the effect of the pandemic on asthma exacerbations in the UK. As the incidence of exacerbations changes over time both groups used interrupted time series methodology to establish any impact of lockdown adjusted for variation across the year and between years, with both studies finding a reduction in incidence of severe asthma exacerbations with the onset of lockdown. Specifically, Davies and colleagues found a 36% pooled reduction in emergency admissions for asthma in Scotland and Wales following lockdown,1 whereas Shah and colleagues found a significant reduction in England in severe exacerbations managed in primary care with oral corticosteroids following lockdown though no significant reduction in exacerbations requiring hospital care.2 Importantly, there was no evidence of …

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  • Contributors IPS and PEP contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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