When the COVID-19 virus reached Europe, the government asked the UK’s top health advisers to decide what groups were most at risk and how to best protect them.

Professor Carsten Flohr, Chair in Dermatology and Population Health Science at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London, was one of the experts consulted for patients with skin diseases, in particular those on drugs that suppress the immune system.

Professor Flohr said: “We were given notice of a few days to produce national guidance on who was at high risk if infected with the corona virus and who should shield to protect their health.”

“Putting this guidance together was very difficult because we lacked and still lack firm data on how immunosuppressants influence COVID-19 infection episodes, including in eczema patients who are on such mediation.”

As a result, a worldwide survey was launched by the SECURE-AD Registry Team led by Prof Flohr and other eczema experts from Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan to examine the effect COVID-19 has on those with eczema. Eczema patients of all ages are included if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or where COVID-19 has been strongly suspected without having been tested.

The survey is vitally important to better understand how the virus affects those with immune dysfunction such as eczema, in particular those on medication that suppresses the immune system.

Professor Flohr added: “The results of this worldwide study will help us to make informed decisions on how to better protect eczema patients from COVID. What is unusual about this study is that we are not just consulting with medical professionals – they have their own data entry platform – but that patients themselves can enter their own data. The more eczema patients share their experiences of having had COVID-19 and how the infection affected their skin and health in general the better we are prepared to give advice should a further surge in COVID cases occur.”

The survey will be open until the end of 2020 and you can take part here: https://www.secure-derm.com/secure-pad/