Comorbidities a risk factor for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection
Individuals with comorbidities such as hypertension and respiratory system and cardiovascular diseases may have a greater susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, a study suggests.
Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence of comorbidities and the risk of underlying diseases in patients with severe vs nonsevere SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The meta-analysis included seven studies involving 1,576 infected patients (median age, 49.6 years; 56.5 percent male). Pooled data revealed fever (91.3 percent) to be the most prevalent clinical symptom, followed by cough (67.7 percent), fatigue (51.0 percent), and dyspnoea (30.4 percent). There was significant heterogeneity observed (I2, 84.9–96.4 percent; p=0.000).
In terms of comorbidities, the most prevalent was hypertension (21.1 percent) and diabetes (9.7 percent), followed by cardiovascular (8.4 percent) and respiratory system (1.5 percent) diseases. There were significant heterogeneities seen for estimates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (p=0.000) but not for diabetes (p=0.209) and respiratory system disease (p=0.872), with I2 indices ranging from 0 percent to 86.2 percent.
Compared with nonsevere infection, severe SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a higher likelihood of having hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 2.36, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.46–3.83), respiratory system disease (OR, 2.46, 95 percent CI, 1.76–3.44), and cardiovascular disease (OR, 3.42, 95 percent CI, 1.88–6.22). Estimates showed low heterogeneity (I2, 0–39.3 percent).
Despite a need for more adequately powered studies to validate the observed association, the findings highlight the importance of adopting targeted public health vaccination interventions to better protect people with chronic diseases from infection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, given the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, according to the researchers.