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NON-WHITE ETHNICITY, MALE SEX, AND HIGHER BODY MASS INDEX, BUT NOT MEDICATIONS ACTING ON THE RENIN-ANGIOTENSIN SYSTEM ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) HOSPITALISATION: REVIEW OF THE FIRST 669 CASES FROM THE UK BIOBANK

By Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, Celeste McCracken, Maddalena Ardissino, Mae S Bethell, Jackie Cooper, Cyrus Cooper, Nicholas C Harvey, Steffen E Petersen

Posted 15 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.10.20096925

Background: Cardiometabolic morbidity and medications, specifically Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs), have been linked with adverse outcomes from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aims to investigate factors associated with COVID-19 positivity for the first 669 UK Biobank participants; compared with individuals who tested negative, and with the untested, presumed negative, rest of the population. Methods: We studied 1,474 participants from the UK Biobank who had been tested for COVID-19. Given UK testing policy, this implies a hospital setting, suggesting at least moderate to severe symptoms. We considered the following exposures: age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, ACEi/ARB use, prior myocardial infarction (MI), and smoking. We undertook comparisons between: 1) COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 tested negative participants; and 2) COVID-19 tested positive and the remaining participants (tested negative plus untested, n=501,837). Logistic regression models were used to investigate univariate and mutually adjusted associations. Results: Among participants tested for COVID-19, non-white ethnicity, male sex, and greater BMI were independently associated with COVID-19 positive result. Non-white ethnicity, male sex, greater BMI, diabetes, hypertension, prior MI, and smoking were independently associated with COVID-19 positivity compared to the remining cohort (test negatives plus untested). However, similar associations were observed when comparing those who tested negative for COVID-19 with the untested cohort; suggesting that these factors associate with general hospitalisation rather than specifically with COVID-19. Conclusions: Among participants tested for COVID-19 with presumed moderate to severe symptoms in a hospital setting, non-white ethnicity, male sex, and higher BMI are associated with a positive result. Other cardiometabolic morbidities confer increased risk of hospitalisation, without specificity for COVID-19. Notably, ACE/ARB use did not associate with COVID-19 status.

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