Minorities’ High Risk of Severe Covid to Be Studied in U.K.

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Research into the reasons behind the high risk of severe Covid-19 cases among Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities will be funded with more than 2 million pounds ($2.7 million) from the U.K. government.

As part of the study, health-care workers from these groups will be followed for a year to monitor their health, the risks they face and how they change their behavior in response to the pandemic. The 30,000 people will also include non-clinical staff at health-care institutions, such as cleaners, kitchen workers and porters.

Minorities are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and are dying from the disease at twice the rate as the white population, according to a statement from the University of Leicester, which is leading the evaluation of the health workers. A report last month from Public Health England showed that 63% of U.K. medical professionals who died from Covid-19 were from minority groups.

There is an “urgent need“ to better understand the reasons behind this in order to save lives, U.K. Science Minister Amanda Solloway said in the university’s statement.

As part of the research, teams at the universities of Oxford and Southampton will also examine the medical conditions of patients from minority groups who were treated in hospitals and died from Covid-19. This will involve using a database of 40 million records from general practitioners across England, according to Oxford’s press office.

The projects will be funded by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. They will help with the development of treatments and approaches to care that target those most at risk, U.K. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in the statement.

This is the first large-scale effort in the U.K. to examine minorities’ risk of severe Covid, according to the statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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