WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes is associated with increased odds of contracting COVID-19 and with increased COVID-19 mortality, while metformin treatment before diagnosis of COVID-19 is associated with reduced odds of related mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in Frontiers in Endocrinology.
Andrew B. Crouse, Ph.D., from the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a retrospective health record data analysis of 25,326 individuals tested for COVID-19 between Feb. 25 and June 22, 2020. The association between mortality in COVID-19-positive individuals and patient characteristics and comorbidities was examined.
The researchers found that Blacks/African Americans and those with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes had disproportionately higher odds of contracting COVID-19 (odds ratios, 2.6, 1.93, 2.46, and 2.11, respectively). There was also an association for diabetes with increased mortality (odds ratio, 3.62), which emerged as an independent risk factor even after adjustment for age, race, sex, obesity, and hypertension. For individuals with diabetes and COVID-19, metformin treatment prior to COVID-19 diagnosis was independently associated with reduced mortality (odds ratio, 0.33).
“These results suggest that, while diabetes is an independent risk factor for COVID-19-related mortality, this risk is dramatically reduced in subjects taking metformin — raising the possibility that metformin may provide a protective approach in this high-risk population,” a coauthor said in a statement.