People of Black and Asian ethnicity up to twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as those of White ethnicity

November 12, 2020

People of Black ethnicity are twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to those of White ethnicity, according to researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre. The findings are published in EClinical Medicine by The Lancet today (Thursday 12 November 2020).

People from Asian backgrounds are also 1.5 times more likely to become infected with the virus compared to White individuals.

In the first meta-analysis of the effect of ethnicity on clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19, which screened over 1500 articles, the research team pooled data from more than 18 million people who had taken part in 50 studies in the United Kingdom and United States of America. All the studies included in the analysis were published between 1 December 2019 and 31 August 2020 in peer-reviewed journals or as pre-prints waiting for peer-review.

All the patients included in the study who had COVID-19 were defined as such by a positive nasal swab test or clinical signs and symptoms of the virus, along with radiology and laboratory tests.

Researchers also found those of Asian ethnicities to be at higher risk of admission to an intensive therapy unit (ITU) and death. However, all studies investigating ITU admission that were included in the meta-analysis had not yet been peer-reviewed, and the risk of death was only of borderline statistical significance. This is in contrast to the strong evidence of increased risk of infection in Black and Asian ethnic groups.

Dr Manish Pareek, Associate Clinical Professor in Infectious Diseases at the University of Leicester, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and a senior author on the paper, said: "Our findings suggest that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Asian communities is mainly attributable to increased risk of infection in these communities.

"Many explanations exist as to why there may be an elevated level of COVID-19 infection in ethnic minority groups, including the greater likelihood of living in larger household sizes comprised of multiple generations; having lower socioeconomic status, which may increase the likelihood of living in overcrowded households; and being employed in frontline roles where working from home is not an option."

Dr Shirley Sze, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer and Specialist Registrar in Cardiology at the University of Leicester, and a lead author of the paper, said: "The clear evidence of increased risk of infection amongst ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance - we must work to minimise exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to healthcare resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities."

Dr Daniel Pan, Specialist Registrar in Infectious Diseases at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and an NIHR Clinical Academic Fellow at the University of Leicester is a lead author of the paper. He said: "Future papers must try to adjust for the risk of infection when looking at the risk of ITU admission and death in COVID-19 patients, in order for us to accurately assess the impact of ethnicity on an individual's risk of death once they are infected".
-end-
The paper, 'Ethnicity and clinical outcomes in COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis' is published in EClinical Medicine by The Lancet on 12 November 2020.

National Institute for Health Research

Related Infectious Diseases Articles from Brightsurf:

Understanding the spread of infectious diseases
Physicists at M√ľnster University (Germany) have shown in model simulations that the COVID-19 infection rates decrease significantly through social distancing.

Forecasting elections with a model of infectious diseases
Election forecasting is an innately challenging endeavor, with results that can be difficult to interpret and may leave many questions unanswered after close races unfold.

COVID-19 a reminder of the challenge of emerging infectious diseases
The emergence and rapid increase in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, pose complex challenges to the global public health, research and medical communities, write federal scientists from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Certain antidepressants could provide treatment for multiple infectious diseases
Some antidepressants could potentially be used to treat a wide range of diseases caused by bacteria living within cells, according to work by researchers in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and collaborators at other institutions.

Opioid epidemic is increasing rates of some infectious diseases
The US faces a public health crisis as the opioid epidemic fuels growing rates of certain infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart infections, and skin and soft tissue infections.

Infectious diseases could be diagnosed with smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa
A new Imperial-led review has outlined how health workers could use existing phones to predict and curb the spread of infectious diseases.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experts warn of a surge in vector-borne diseases as humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsens
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is accelerating the re-emergence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease, dengue, and Zika virus, and threatens to jeopardize public health gains in the country over the past two decades, warn leading public health experts.

Glow-in-the-dark paper as a rapid test for infectious diseases
Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and Keio University (Japan) present a practicable and reliable way to test for infectious diseases.

Math shows how human behavior spreads infectious diseases
Mathematics can help public health workers better understand and influence human behaviors that lead to the spread of infectious disease, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Many Americans say infectious and emerging diseases in other countries will threaten the US
An overwhelming majority of Americans (95%) think infectious and emerging diseases facing other countries will pose a 'major' or 'minor' threat to the U.S. in the next few years, but more than half (61%) say they are confident the federal government can prevent a major infectious disease outbreak in the US, according to a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and the American Society for Microbiology.

Read More: Infectious Diseases News and Infectious Diseases Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.