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Limited overlap in COVID infection risk and severity

Wednesday December 1st 2021

The risk factors for COVID infection and severity of disease have "limited overlap," researchers report today.

The study looked at the demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle, and dietary factors linked to catching COVID-19.

Professor Adrian Martineau of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK, and colleagues set out to determine whether the risk factors for infection with COVID were the same as those for developing a severe case.

They gathered details of 446 COVID infections among 15,227 participants from May 2020 to February 2021.

Risk of infection was over twice as high for Asian/Asian British people as compared with white people, and was also linked to household overcrowding, recent socialising with other households or visiting indoor public places, raised body mass index, and having people-facing occupations.

Conversely, people with allergic illnesses - especially alongside asthma - were at a 25% lower risk of catching COVID. Age, sex, other medical conditions, and diet were unconnected with risk of infection.

Details are published in Thorax today. The authors explain that a growing body of evidence suggests that at least some risk factors for developing COVID may differ from those which predispose to severe disease.

They write: "A number of established risk factors for severe and fatal disease, including older age, male sex and underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension, were not associated with risk of developing COVID-19 in our study.

"There is an urgent need for further research to investigate social and biological factors that might explain ethnic disparities in risk."

Holt, H. et al. Risk factors for developing COVID-19: a population based longitudinal study (COVIDENC6/E UK) Thorax 1 December 2021 doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-217487

[abstract]

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Flu & Viruses | Respiratory | UK News | World Health

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