People of South Asian origin are most likely to die from the novel coronavirus after being admitted to hospital than white counterparts, according to a major new study involving tens of thousands of patients.
The study, to be published in the Lancet medical journal on Friday, found that 350 of every 1000 South Asian people admitted to hospital for Covid-19 died compared with 290 of every 1000 white people needing treatment.
The study’s authors have found that South Asians are the only ethnic group to have a greater risk of death in hospital and has partly attributed it to the high levels of Type 2 Diabetes within the community.
35,000 patients were looked at as part of the study in 260 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales.
Professor Ewen Harrison, from the University of Edinburgh and one of the authors of the study, told the BBC: “South Asians are definitely more likely to die from Covid-19 in hospital. They are 12 years younger on average and they don’t tend not to have dementia, obesity or lung disease, but very high levels of diabetes”.
The findings are expected to influence government policy on who gets priority receiving a vaccine if and when one becomes available.
The study comes amid ongoing concerns that the Covid-19 virus has had a greater impact on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in the United Kingdom.
Analysis by Public Health England has shown that people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage were dying at twice the rate of white people while other BAME groups had between 10% and 50% higher risk of death.
A range of factors have been cited as causes – from genetic factors to a lack of trust in the NHS by some migrants who refused to seek help for their illness out of fear that they would be deported.