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The Leibniz Postdoc Network introduces: Martin Schäfer

Martin Schäfer, a postdoc in the Epidemiology Programme Area at the DRFZ, was recently introduced in the Leibniz Postdoc Blog.

The statistician completed his PhD in Dortmund in 2015 and has been researching the potential benefits and risks of new therapies for rheumatic diseases in Anja Strangfeld’s Pharmacoepidemiology group since 2017.

Martin Schäfer analyses observational data to find out which drugs are particularly suitable for certain groups of arthritis patients. He has been using this expertise in data analysis since May 2020 to identify possible risk factors for a severe course of Covid-19 disease in arthritis patients. He was not surprised to find that patients, especially men, older people and people with heart or lung diseases, have an increased risk of a severe course of Covid-19 – as compared to the general population. In patients with rheumatic diseases, other factors are also associated with a higher risk of severe Covid-19, such as high disease activity, or treatment with the immune-suppressing drug rituximab. However, the vast majority of medications for rheumatoid arthritis patients were not associated with severe Covid-19 disease. He published these results in 2021 as part of international and national research collaborations together with Anja Strangfeld and Anne Regierer from the DRFZ, among others (see also Effects of rheumatic drugs on the course of Covid-19 worldwide or in Germany).

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