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Early Data Suggests Encouraging Health Outcomes for People with Cystic Fibrosis who Have Contracted COVID-19
April 30, 2020

A new collaborative study highlights the health outcomes of 40 cases of COVID-19 among vulnerable population, and the importance of physical distancing

TORONTO (April 30, 2020) Led by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s CF Registry, the collaborative study includes data for 40 people with CF who have tested positive for COVID-19 in 8 different countries.

Published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, the data  suggest that the relative incidence of COVID-19 in people living with CF may be slightly lower than the general public. This may be because the CF community already adheres to infection prevention and control measures like physical distancing that public health officials are currently promoting for the general population.

“While the data on the rate of infection and course of disease among people living with CF is encouraging, the data are early and the numbers small,” says Dr. John Wallenburg, Chief Scientific Officer at Cystic Fibrosis Canada.“I urge the community to continue to adhere to the physical distancing protocols put in place by public health officials. It is crucial that people living with cystic fibrosis remain vigilant about avoiding infection.”

The report looks at data from 8 countries —Australia, France, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and shows that of the 40 people with CF and COVID-19, 28 of them fully recovered from the virus.

“This study is a great example of why we do what we do here at Cystic Fibrosis Canada”, says Stephanie Cheng, study author and Director of Registry at Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “The international CF community has coordinated this effort at a remarkable speed to provide timely and relevant information to the CF community on the impact of COVID-19 on people living with CF. Cystic Fibrosis Canada continues to monitor COVID-19 infection, testing, and the effects of the virus on the cystic fibrosis population through data submitted to the Canadian CF Registry. 

“I am grateful for the continued support of all CF clinics in Canada for their involvement in this study, and particularly to the patients and families who agree to participate in the Registry,” says Dr. Anne Stephenson, study author and Medical Director of the Canadian CF Registry.

Of the 40 cases, 31 people with CF had symptoms of COVID-19 when they were tested, with 24 people having a fever. 13 patients required supplemental oxygen and only one patient required invasive ventilator support. Four were admitted to intensive care and only two remain in ICU at the time of reporting.

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About the study

The report, A Multinational Report to Characterize SARS-CoV-2 Infection in People with Cystic Fibrosis, includes the outcomes of 40 people from across the globe (Australia, France, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK, and the U.S.A who have cystic fibrosis and have tested positive for COVID-19. The full report is available online at sciencedirect.com.

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. It is a multi-system progressive disease that affects mainly the lungs and the digestive system. In the lungs, where the effects are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus leads to progressive loss of respiratory function. Mucus also builds up in the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients from food. As improved therapies have helped to address the malnutrition issues, ultimately most deaths related to cystic fibrosis are due to lung failure. There is no cure.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada

Cystic Fibrosis Canada is one of the world’s leading charitable organizations committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and is an internationally-recognized leader in funding CF research, innovation, and clinical care. We invest more funding in life-saving CF research and care than any other non-governmental agency in Canada. Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has invested more than $261 million in leading research, care and advocacy, resulting in one of the world’s highest estimated median age of survival for Canadians living with cystic fibrosis. For more information, visit cysticfibrosis.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Kenya Francis, Associate, Corporate Communications
Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Tel: 416-485-9149 ext. 203
Tel: 1-800-378-2233 ext. 203
Email: kfrancis@cysticfibrosis.ca   


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