Dear Members of the EULAR Network,

Dear Friends,

Within the space of a few weeks, healthcare has come to the forefront of every governmental agenda at national, regional and global levels. The impact of COVID-19 is a human tragedy in the short term, and in bringing the world economy to a standstill it will significantly influence our lives for many years to come.

We are living through times of unprecedented challenge – the rheumatology community is facing situations not only unknown but previously unfathomable. We are working outwith our norms and making challenging decisions with little evidence to guide us.

On the other hand, as the pathogenesis of COVID-19 becomes clearer, so too it appears that the skills honed by rheumatologists in the last decades, especially in the use of immune modifier drugs, can come to the fore in the clinical effort to defeat the virus.

To directly address the situation, EULAR has set up a task force dedicated to looking at rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases during COVID-19.

Application of anti-malarials to tackle COVID-19 raises vital issues for rheumatic disease community in Europe

The use of anti-malarials to fight COVID-19 in otherwise healthy patients, as reported in the EULAR Journal, The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, ARD, this month, is perhaps one of the most concerning topics facing the rheumatology community as we try to protect the most vulernable people with RMDs who rely on this agent for their well-being. Read the statement

EULAR encourages Europe to include expert view in shortages question

EULAR is campaigning for equity of access to hydroxychloroquine. Whereas we are respectful and supportive of the vital effort to test the role of HCQ in COVID-19, we are asking that this is done in the context of trials so that the value of the medicine in COVID is clarified, and that the needs of other patients groups are preserved. Read the statement

Latest Publication in the EULAR Journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

First information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematous, who are already taking anti-malarial drug, Hydroxychloroquine, were published on 24 April.

Read the publication

First case studies of COVID-19 from Italy

The EULAR Journal ARD has also published information regarding first case studies of COVID-19 from Italy which examine the risk that COVID-19 poses to patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases who are taking immunosuppressive therapies. Read the published letter in ARD

EULAR COVID-19 Database Responding to the crisis, EULAR has launched a reporting registry for rheumatologists and other clinicians, providing opportunity for those in Europe to report their experiences caring for individuals with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases suffering the virus.

Go to the EULAR COVID-19 Database for rheumatologists and other clinicians

EULAR Guidance for patients with RMDs about COVID-19 In a further step, EULAR issued a guidance for patients and an array of useful resources, designed to support our member organisations as well as the millions around the world looking for insight at a time of great panic and distress. Go to guidance for patients

EULAR 2020 E-CONGRESS Finally, some good news. There is opportunity for innovation in the current COVID-19 crisis:

EULAR will for the first time host its annual congress virtually, bringing together the entire rheumatology community from 3 June 2020 in one virtual space in order that our discipline can continue to shine and thrive. 

Find out more

Let’s look to a future in which we unite to prosper through constant adaptation and innovation.

Carpe Diem!

With best regards,

Prof. Iain B. McInnes

EULAR President.