In a new study, experts have found that people who are suffering from diabetes and being treated with the medicine metformin are significantly at a lower risk of death due to COVID19 as compared to those who are not being treated with the drug. The study has found that African American people are disproportionately at a higher risk of contracting the virus as compared to white people. The findings of the study have been released in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology. The COVID19 study has looked at the risk factors that might make people more likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus or die due to the disease in case they test positive for COVID19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a new coronavirus that has some similarities to other coronaviruses. However, experts are yet to uncover how it affects people from certain groups and how to reduce the risks linked to the disease. Many past studies have shown links between certain health issues, demographic traits, and the risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or dying due to the disease. The new study supports the early findings of observational studies and sketchy evidence.
Experts have done a retrospective observational study. They have included around 25326 people who have tested positive for COVID19 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from February to June 2020. They have observed de-identified electronic health data to offer demographic and medical details for each participant. As per the study, only 604 people have tested positive for COVID19, which is a quite low rate of infection. Experts have said that it might be due to the number of asymptomatic health care staff and patients, who have been receiving elective procedures. They have said that around 70 percent of people who have tested positive for the disease have been dealing with high blood pressure. Around 61 percent of them have been suffering from obesity and 40 percent of COVID19 positive patients have been dealing with diabetes. Experts have looked at people with diabetes in more detail. They have said that diabetes patients who have tested positive for COVID19 and are being treated with the drug called metformin for diabetes have been at 11 percent risk of dying due to COVID19. While diabetes patients who have been diagnosed with COVID19 and have not received treatment with metformin have been at 24 percent risk of death due to the virus. The study has noted that the risk of death due to COVID19 among diabetes patients who have been taking metformin has been the same as the general population. The author of the study has said that after adjusting age, sex, race, obesity, kidney disease, hypertension, and heart failure, the beneficial effect of metformin has been the same.
Experts have said that the beneficial effect of metformin might be due to its anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties. The study as well has noted that black people contribute to 26 percent of the Alabama population but they account for 52 percent of people who have been diagnosed with COVID19. The rate of death due to the virus among Black people has been quite different from the rate of death in white people. The lead author of the study Prof. Anath Shalev has said that being African American primarily seems to be a risk factor for contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus rather than the death due to the disease. It proves that the racial disparity, which has been reported in many past studies, might be due to exposure risk, external socioeconomic factors, and lack of access to proper healthcare. The study has shown that nearly 11 percent of people who have tested positive for COVID19 have lost their lives. In 93 percent of cases, people who have died have been over 50 years of age.