Obese people and males are at greater risk of dying from coronavirus: UK study

The study, which involved 16,749 patients from 166 UK hospitals, is the largest such study undertaken outside China

Wide-scale research is being undertaken around the world to acquire complete information about novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, the lethal virus that has killed around 240,000 people. The origin of the virus, the vulnerable groups, its survival based on temperature, climate and geography and most importantly the cure are some of the questions being studied around the world.

A UK study involving 16,749 patients from 166 hospitals has revealed a new characteristic about the virus. It's more lethal for male and/or obese patients, according to the study.

Details about the UK study

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Male and obese patients are at a greater risk of dying from Covid-19, according to a UK study carried out by researchers from Edinburgh University, Liverpool University and Imperial College London.

The study found that "being male or obese is a significant factor associated with death in UK hospitals, a feature not seen in China", maybe because obesity in China is far less as compared to that in the U.K. "Those who have poor outcomes are more often elderly, male and obese". Obesity being a huge risk factor among Covid-19 male patients, was seen in all age groups.

"Although age-adjusted mortality rates are high in the elderly, most of these patients were admitted to hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 and would not have died otherwise", the study, published in medRxiv.orgnoted.

Why is obesity a risk factor among Covid-19 patients?

Researchers opine that obese patients suffer from reduced lung function and possibly more inflammation in adipose tissue, the fatty tissue found under the skin and around internal organs. This might possibly trigger a "cytokine storm", which is a phenomenon when body's immune system responds abnormally against a contagion. This often leads to a person being killed by his/her own immune system.

The study was based on nearly 17,000 patients from 166 UK hospitals, between February 6 and April 18. They account for 9.5% of Britons, who've tested positive for Covid-19, making it the biggest such study undertaken outside China -- where the disease first originated, last year. Over 15% of the participants suffered from comorbidities such as chronic cardiac disease, diabetes and non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease. While 1/3rd of the patients have died, 17% are still in hospital and about half of them have been discharged, South China Morning Post reported.

UK, with 177,454 cases and 27,510 fatalities, has reported third-highest number of coronavirus fatalities, in the world.

Related topics : Coronavirus