There have been several factors that are being studied extensively for their possible association with the risk of death from COVID-19. Now, researchers from the University of Michigan have found that the risk due to the coronavirus in organ transplant recipients was higher among those who received certain kinds of treatments.

"Using data from the COVID-19 Rapid Response Registry, we examined COVID-19 positive adult solid organ transplant recipients and non-transplant patients that were matched to them on age, race and whether they were admitted at the hospital or seen at an outpatient facility," explained, Dr. Pratima Sharma, lead author of the study, in a statement.

Racial Disparities

According to Dr. Sharma, the demographics of the patients included in the research were consistent with COVID-19 patient trends across the state of Michigan. She said the African American residents of Michigan represented 15 percent of the state's total population.

However, they accounted for 42 percent of COVID-19-related deaths. This was in comparison to white residents who represented 75 percent of the state's population but formed only 26 percent of Michigan's coronavirus deaths.

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Dr. Sharma also added that these statistics held good for organ transplant recipients. While Black patients formed one-tenth of all organ transplants at the University of Michigan Transplant Center, they accounted for two-thirds of the organ transplant recipients who tested positive for COVID-19 in the study group. "These results highlight the racial inequities that have overwhelmed the United States health care system during this pandemic," she highlighted.

Risk of Death Compounded By Certain Treatments

The scientists also observed that the severity of the disease and the rate of intubation were similar among both non-transplant patients and solid organ transplant recipients. However, organ transplant recipients required replacement therapy—treatments that take over the functioning of the kidneys when they are facing failure.

Even though deaths due to the adversity of the virus was similar in both the study group, higher death rates were found among transplant recipients who received hydroxychloroquine treatment. "In fact, we found that the treatment of hydroxychloroquine among organ transplant recipients was associated with ten-fold higher risk of death compared to not using the treatment among the recipients," concluded Dr. Sharma.