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THE world’s largest study on death due to Covid-19 has found that people of Asian and Black ethnic origin are at a higher risk – but, contrary to prior speculation, this is only partially attributable to pre-existing clinical risk factors or deprivation.

Previously, commentators and researchers have speculated that the high deaths among the BAME community might be due to higher prevalence of medical problems such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes among BME communities, or higher deprivation.

But these new findings, based on detailed data from 17.4 million UK adults, show that this only accounts for a small part of the excess risk.

Professor Liam Smeeth at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and co-lead on the study, said: “It is very concerning to see that the higher risks faced by people from BME backgrounds are not attributable to identifiable underlying health conditions.”

Additionally, people from deprived social backgrounds were also found to be at a higher risk of death from Covid-19, which also could not be explained by other risk factors.

Results confirmed that men are at increased risk from Covid-19 death, as well as people of older ages and those with uncontrolled diabetes.

People with more severe asthma were also found to be at increased risk of death from Covid-19.

Further analyses are already underway, including investigation into the effects of specific drugs routinely prescribed in primary care. The platform can also be used to evaluate Covid-19 spread with innovative approaches to modelling; predict local health service needs; assess the indirect health impacts of the pandemic; track the impact of national interventions; and inform exit from lockdown.

The full study can be viewed here