People who are older or have underlying diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes may be at a higher risk of death from the new coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a study published in The Lancet journal. The observational study was carried on 191 patients with confirmed COVID-19 from two hospitals in Wuhan, China.
Risk factors associated with severe disease and death in hospitalised adults who have either died or been discharged from hospital were analysed by the study.
Why Some People are more likely to die from the virus
Older age, showing signs of sepsis on admission, underlying diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and the prolonged use of non-invasive ventilation have been identified as important factors in the deaths of patients.
Poorer outcomes in older people may be due, in part, to the age-related weakening of the immune system and increased inflammation that could promote viral replication and more prolonged responses to inflammation, causing lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.
In the study of 191 patients, 137 were discharged and 54 died in hospital. However, the researchers note that interpretation of their findings might be limited by the study’s sample size.
The extended viral shedding noted in the study has important implications for guiding decisions around isolation precautions and antiviral treatment in patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection. However, the also said that viral shedding time should not be confused with other self-isolation guidance for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, as this guidance is based on the incubation time of the virus.