The coronavirus which emerged in China at the end of the previous year was thought to be affecting all populations equally around the world. Recently, a study conducted shows that the coronavirus in the UK is more prevalent among South Asian people as found by new research by UK Biobank which is led by the University of Glasgow.
BMC Medicine published the research “Ethnic and socioeconomic differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection,” whose findings show that the ethnic groups of South Asian people and the black community are at a greater risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. These groups are also at a higher risk of getting severely ill due to the infection since they have a higher risk of being coronavirus positive when attending a hospital.
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The risk of infection of coronavirus in South Asians remained fairly the same even if the person had underlying health conditions, smoking habits, or being a professional health worker. The ethnic discrimination in the case of coronavirus can not be completely explained considering the differences in the socio-economic background of these ethnic groups.
The researched have used the data provided by UK Biobank which shows that the people belonging to the black ethnic group are at a greater risk of being confirmed coronavirus positive though laboratory test and the ratio is thrice as compared to white people. South Asian community is also at a greater risk of being COVID-19 positive while the Pakistani community is at the greatest risk of testing positive in this community.
The risk factors for being coronavirus positive and having severe illness have been categorized as the age of the individual, underlying health conditions, sex of the individual but ethnicity and socioeconomic conditions have not been discussed well enough which play a certain role as explained by the findings of this study as coronavirus in South Asians is more prevalent.
According to the researchers, these factors should be better explored to understand their effects and outcomes in terms of this disease. Moreover, the greater risk associated with these factors needs to be addressed.
The senior author of this study, Dr. Vittal Katikireddi, who is from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow said that some ethnic groups are clearly more exposed to the virus than others and have a greater risk of being tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
He also said that the findings of the study suggest that people from South Asian and black communities have a greater risk of attending a hospital due to being severely ill after infection with coronavirus. The increased risk in certain minorities should be addressed so that the risk posed towards the patients can be reduced.
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The social and economic deprivation among these ethnic groups is a major factor contributing to the higher risk and being severely ill due to the infection.
The study conducted by UK Biobank shows that the researchers have effectively considered factors such as smoking habits and obesity among minority ethnic groups and communities with socioeconomic differences to study the difference in the risk related to the coronavirus in South Asians.