Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Who is Most At Risk from COVID-19?

Who is Most At Risk from COVID-19?

Jun 20 2020 Read 408 Times

Since emerging in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 450,000 lives around the world. Now, a new study published in peer-reviewed medical journal The BMJ warns there are several underlying factors that can amplify the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and increase the risk of death.

Published in May, the cohort study identified age, obesity and male sex as three major risk factors.  The study drew on data from more than 20,000 COVID-19 patients admitted to acute care hospitals across the UK between February and April. Around 60% of the patients were men, with an average age of 73. As well as age and sex, the study identified obesity as an underlying health condition that significantly affects symptoms and death rate. Pre-existing heart, lung, kidney and liver issues were also identified as major risk factors.

Understanding the coronavirus

As one of the largest observational COVID-19 studies in the world, the team hope the findings will offer more insight into how the coronavirus progresses and attacks the body. “Our study identifies sectors of the population that are at greatest risk of a poor outcome, and shows the importance of forward planning and investment in preparedness studies," reads the study. The study builds on previous research published in The Lancet, which warned that obesity-related conditions appear to amplify symptoms and increase the risk of ICU admission.

Obesity a major risk factor

For people with obesity, the risks of developing severe symptoms is much higher due to the reduced lung capacity and internal inflammation associated with the disease. Currently, around one in four British adults is obese, putting 25% of the population at high risk.

The findings have been shared with both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the British government, with plans to compare the data with other countries. Moving forward, the team say the findings can be used to develop a deeper understanding of COVID-19 and help to “understand and optimise care before, during, and beyond the hospital." The study is ongoing, with the team continuing to compile data as the COVID-19 pandemic endures.

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