THURSDAY, June 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Sex and ethnicity differential patterns of COVID-19 positivity are not explained by cardiometabolic, socioeconomic, or behavioral factors, according to a study published online June 19 in the Journal of Public Health.

Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, M.D., from Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues studied 4,510 U.K. Biobank participants tested for COVID-19 (1,326 positive) to examine whether the greater severity of COVID-19 among men and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals is explained by cardiometabolic, socioeconomic, or behavioral factors.

The researchers identified overrepresentation of men and BAME in the COVID-19-positive group. On average, a poorer cardiometabolic profile, lower 25(OH)-vitamin D, and greater material deprivation were seen for BAME individuals; they were also more likely to live in larger households and in apartments. Independent associations with significantly greater odds of COVID-19 were seen for male sex, BAME ethnicity, higher body mass index, higher Townsend deprivation score, and household overcrowding. The pattern of the association was consistent for men and women; sex/ethnicity associations were not attenuated by cardiometabolic, sociodemographic, and behavioral factors. “The sex and ethnicity differential pattern of COVID-19 is not adequately explained by variations in cardiometabolic factors, 25(OH)-vitamin D levels, socioeconomic, or behavioral factors,” the authors write. “Investigation of alternative biological and genetic susceptibilities as well as more comprehensive assessment of the complex economic, social and behavioral differences is warranted.”

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