Sort 2 diabetes ‘disproportionately’ impacts COVID-19 mortality danger in middle-aged adults

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February 09, 2021

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Dennis does not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes have a disproportionate risk of COVID-19 mortality and should be given priority for early vaccination, according to a research letter published in Diabetologia.

John M. Dennis

“We have triangulated information from several large studies, all of which have very similar disproportionate risks in middle-aged people.” John M. Dennis, PhD, An independent research fellow at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK told Healio. “This is clear evidence that middle-aged people with diabetes should be given priority for vaccination. While the UK vaccination priority group is fairly consistent with our findings, it is important that countries across Europe and beyond think about how people with type 2 diabetes can be fairly prioritized. We recommend anyone with diabetes to take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them. “

Adults with type 2 diabetes are at a similar risk for COVID-19 mortality as older adults without diabetes.

Dennis and colleagues analyzed data from three COVID-19 studies in the UK. OpenSAFELY and QCOVID were population-based studies that reported adjusted age-specific HRs for COVID-19 mortality from diabetes. OpenSAFELY data was stratified by HbA1c but not diabetes, while QCOVID reported age-specific HRs in type 2 diabetes by gender but not by type 1 diabetes. Researchers also collected age-specific HRs related to type 2 diabetes for people with severe COVID-19 in the cohort of the COVID-19 Hospitalization in England Surveillance System (CHESS). Researchers triangulated the data from all three sources and translated HR estimates into a “COVID age,” which was calculated by adding the additional years of COVID-19 mortality risk to the chronological age of a person who has diabetes.

The additional risk of COVID-19 mortality from diabetes was higher in younger adults than in older adults. For a person aged 40 with type 2 diabetes, the additional risk of mortality was 20.4 years, which means they have a COVID-19 mortality risk that is similar to an adult aged 60 without diabetes. The additional risk decreased with chronological age. Adults aged 50 and over with type 2 diabetes have an additional mortality risk of 16.4 years, or the same as a person aged 66 years without diabetes. People aged 60 and over with type 2 diabetes have an additional mortality risk of 12.1 years, which is the same as an adult aged 72 years without diabetes. People aged 70 and over with type 2 diabetes have an additional 8.1 years of mortality risk, or a COVID-19 mortality risk similar to a person aged 78 years without diabetes.

“Younger people are disproportionately affected in terms of years of life lost and of working age, which puts them at a potentially higher risk of exposure,” the researchers write. “These factors, along with the excessive relative risk of COVID-19 mortality in younger people with diabetes, should be considered to ensure they are properly prioritized for vaccination.”

Dennis said the results of the study should be used by governments to make decisions about prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination.

“One important point to note is that the risk of middle-aged people with or without type 2 diabetes dying from COVID-19 is very small, so people shouldn’t be unduly concerned about their risk,” Dennis said. “It does, however, provide valuable evidence for vaccine prioritization.”

For more informations:

John M. Dennis, PhD, can be reached at j.dennis@exeter.ac.uk.

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