Are patients with COPD at a higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and are they also more likely to experience a more severe course of COVID-19 illness?

03 Jun 2021
Respiratory conditions
  • COPD
  • COVID-19
Type of resource
IPCRG COVID-19 and respiratory Q&A

What the research says: 

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk for severe illness associated with viral infection, including COVID-19. Patients with COPD are also at increased risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 disease and death. There is no evidence to indicate that the medications prescribed for the management of COPD, including oral corticosteroids, increase the risk for COVID-19 infection or of severe COVID-19 disease.

What this means for your clinical practice:

  • Ensure patients with COPD are symptomatically well controlled
  • Encourage your patients with COPD to ensure they take their medications as prescribed and report any increase in respiratory symptoms promptly
  • Support your patients with COPD to follow National guidelines, including shielding, in order to minimise their risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.
  • When seeing patients face to face, follow National guidelines to minimise cross-infection

For additional information on the treatment of an acutely unwell person with COVID 19 in the primary care setting please see our guidance at:

With grateful thanks to Dr Dhiraj Agarwal (KEM Hospital Research Centre Pune, Pune, India) for and on behalf of the IPCRG practice driven answers review group.