Higher rates of severe COVID-19 in BAME populations remain unexplained

Growing international reports highlight higher risk of adverse COVID-19 infection in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations. The underlying cause of this ethnicity disease pattern is not known. Variation in cardiovascular disease risk, vitamin D levels, socio-economic, and behavioural factors have been proposed as possible explanations. However, these hypotheses have not been formally studied in existing work.

Investigators from Queen Mary, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, used the comprehensive and unique UK Biobank cohort of over half a million people to investigate the role of a range of socioeconomic, biological, and behavioural factors in determining the ethnicity pattern of severe COVID-19. The dataset included 4,510 UK Biobank participants who were tested for COVID-19 in a hospital setting, of whom 1,326 had a positive test result.

The results demonstrate that BAME ethnicity, male sex, higher body mass index, greater material deprivation, and household overcrowding are independent risk factors for COVID-19. The higher rates of severe COVID-19 in BAME populations was not adequately explained by variations in cardiovascular disease risk, vitamin D levels, socio-economic, or behavioural factors, suggesting that other factors not included in the analysis might underlie these differences.

[Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200619115713.htm ]


There is no doubt that in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, public health experts are essential. Epidemiologists need to find the source of infection, the route of transmission, the original host, the intermediate host, and see how it spreads, and then isolate the patients and suspected patients.

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