The results of this unprecedented national study confirm most of the previous findings of other smaller studies: the risk of infection and death by COVID-19 is determined by many vulnerability factors, such as age, which might be the most important factor here after seeing the estimated risks, socio-economic factors such as ethnicity and deprivation, whose underlying causes have yet to be clarified, and also comorbidities as seen above.
While interesting results are featured in this non-reviewed study, it also presents some limits:
- Censored clinical data: due to a high number of included patients, medical records do not all have the same information. For example, only 26% of the records mentioned the ethnicity of patients.
- The explanation about the impact of ethnicity on the number of deaths is not clear: data analyses do not allow us to distinguish if ethnicity is a biological or socio-economic factor. There has not been any proven linkage between ethnicity and precarity.
- The absence of a systematic screening among the cohort: this might lead to the exclusion of results belonging to untested patients whose death was linked to COVID-19.
- The total number of cases (ongoing, cured, deceased) is not mentioned, which may induce a bias regarding the analysis of the death risk factors.
All sensitivity analyses seem to have proven the data robustness. However, some doubts still remain: for example, the small protective effects from smoking has still yet to be prove. While some studies suggest that hypertension is linked to a higher risk of death, this study have not found solid clues about this effect.
One of the main strengths of this study is its high number of analyzed criteria. However, this might also constitute a limit as it would underestimate some risk factors, due to the multivariate adjustment that can overwhelm their true impact. This is especially true for risk factors that affect many others, such as smoking or age.
In any case, it is obvious that many patients’ groups are particularly more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, which we have to protect: scientific literature agrees on this point. The pandemic is still in progress all around the world, though at a slower pace than before; however, R&D research still has to continue its work to find a cure to this virus, and that is why Labtoo continues to mobilize its resources to do so.
Whether you need R&D service providers to work with you on coronavirus-related projects, or you want to bring your biotech expertise to researchers, Labtoo is here to support you. Our COVID-19 initiative aims to foster research by referencing biotech service providers that can work on COVID-19 projects. For more details about this, visit our COVID-19 special page right here.