Method: Under the framework of the EAACI, a panel of experts in the field of AIT coordinated by the Immunotherapy Interest Group (IT IG) set-up a web-based retrospective survey (SurveyMonkey®) including 27 standardized questions on practical and safety aspects on AIT in worldwide clinical routine.
Results: 417 respondents providing AIT to their patients in daily routine answered the survey. For patients (without any current symptoms to suspect COVID-19), 60% of the respondents informed of not having initiated SCIT (40% venom AIT, 35% SLIT) whereas for the maintenance phase of AIT, SCIT was performed by 75% of the respondents (74% venom AIT, 89% SLIT). No tolerability concern arises from this preliminary analysis. 16 physicians reported having performed AIT despite (early) symptoms of COVID-19 and/or a positive test result for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Conclusions: This first international retrospective survey in atopic diseases investigated practical aspects and tolerability of AIT during the COVID-19 pandemic and gave no concerns regarding reduced tolerability under real-life circumstances. However, the data indicate an undertreatment of AIT, which may be temporary, but could have a long-lasting negative impact on the clinical care of allergic patients.
Keywords: COVID-19, allergen immunotherapy (AIT), SARS-CoV-2, practicability, survey, safety, pandemic