Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes among adults with asthma

A new study has been published highlighting an increased risk of serious outcomes for adults with poorly controlled asthma who have COVID-19

New research from the EAVE II team in Scotland has revealed a greater risk for adults with poorly controlled asthma who catch COVID-19. This research highlights the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations in reducing this risk, along with the importance of maintaining good asthma control.

Booster jabs important

Professor Aziz Sheikh, EAVE II study lead and Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research Director, said:

Our national analysis found that adults are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19 if they have recently had asthma attacks requiring a hospital admission or 2 or more recent courses of oral corticosteroids. This research underscores the importance of COVID-19 booster vaccinations for adults with poorly controlled asthma; and of maintaining good asthma control wherever possible, particularly during the pandemic.

Professor Aziz SheikhEAVE II study lead and Director, Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Asthma is a common condition in the UK. Several recent studies link poor asthma control in adults with a higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. These include having to go to hospital, being admitted to intensive care, or dying from COVID-19.

Poorly controlled asthma

In our analysis, the risk of a person having any serious complication from COVID-19 increased with the number of times they had been prescribed oral corticosteroids for asthma attacks in the previous two years.

We found that adults are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19 if they have a recent history of treatment for asthma attacks. This is compared both to people without asthma, and people without a recent history. Here, a recent history of treatment includes people in the last two years who have either:

  • Been admitted to hospital for an asthma attack
  • Had two or more courses of oral corticosteroids for asthma.

Our data confirmed that having two doses of a vaccine greatly increases protection against COVID-19 hospitalisation, for people with and without asthma.

This research supports the importance of people with a recent history of asthma attacks who have needed hospital treatment or two or more courses of oral corticosteroids to receive booster vaccinations.

Read the paper

This publication is available from The Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Summary in Plain English on the EAVE II study website

Cite as

Shi, Ting et al. Risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes among adults with asthma in Scotland: a national incident cohort study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Published Online January 13, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00543-9