Dermatology COVID-19 registry will track impact of coronavirus in skin conditions

Public health

By Michael Woodhead

17 Apr 2020

An international dermatology COVID-19 registry has been established to compile reports of COVID-19 patients who develop dermatologic manifestations, or patients with an existing dermatologic condition who develop COVID-19.

Created by the American Academy of Dermatology, the registry is welcoming reports from physicians and healthcare workers in all countries, and has the backing of the International League of Dermatology Societies.

The AAD Ad Hoc Task Force on COVID-19 says inputting of reports should only take 5- 7 minutes and should not include any patient identifiable material.

Led by Dr Esther Freedman of the Massachusetts General Hospital, the registry aims to “characterise dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19 in order to understand the relationship between the virus and skin, and determine whether cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 may assist with early disease detection.”

Dr Freedman says that until now it has been difficult to analyse case report of skin manifestation of COVID-19 disease because of their relative infrequency and the rapidly evolving spread of COVID-19. To date, most have been shared informally through personal contacts and social media.

“The registry’s primary purpose is to rapidly collect COVID-19 cutaneous manifestations in order to enable prompt dissemination of the findings to the dermatology community and front line healthcare workers,” she writes in the Journal of the American Dermatology Association.

“Given early reports of COVID-19 disparities across racial and socioeconomic groups in the United States, we encourage submission of COVID-19 cases across all ages, races and socioeconomic statuses.

“A secondary objective is to report how COVID-19 affects patients with pre-existing dermatologic conditions, particularly those on immunosuppressive therapies. We expect that these results will generate ideas for further epidemiologic studies on COVID-19 in dermatology.”

The registry is inspired by a similar venture set up by rheumatologists, which accrued more than 100 case reports in the first week.

“We recognise the limitations of such a registry, including selective reporting, duplicate case entries, and lack of a denominator which preclude us from accurately estimating incidence or prevalence,” says Dr Freedman.

“This registry does not replace rigorous epidemiologic studies. However, we believe this registry will allow the global community to rapidly share observations without the institutional or national boundaries that often limit scientific collaboration.”

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