Please note, this statement is specific to the United States. If you are an individual with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) living outside the U.S., please see the specific statements from the health agencies and Alpha-1 organizations in your own country.
The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries including the U.S. While the situation in the U.S. is evolving, it is important to keep up with the advice and recommendations of your local, state, and federal agencies.
Since COVID-19 causes primarily fever and respiratory symptoms, often leading to pneumonia in susceptible individuals, people with Alpha-1 are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of this coronavirus infection. Alphas with lung disease or those who have had a lung transplant are among the groups considered most susceptible to serious complications if they become infected.
Having said this, it appears that many individuals who are infected exhibit only mild symptoms and it is possible that people can be infected (and infectious) and have no symptoms at all. It appears that among those who do become ill, they may have been infecting others for as long as two weeks before they developed symptoms.
Finally, for those with Alpha-1 who are receiving augmentation therapy, the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) has issued a statement that there is no risk of transmission of COVID-19 through plasma product infusions. Thus far, there have been no augmentation supply delays as a result of COVID-19.