Seif Shaheen from Queen Mary, University of London
It has become apparent that adults from black and minority ethnic communities in the UK are more likely than Whites to develop COVID-19 infection, to experience more severe infection, and to die from it. Furthermore, the majority of health care workers who have died from COVID-19 have been from the black and minority ethnic population. The reasons underlying these observations are unclear, but explaining the ethnicity-COVID-19 link has been identified as an urgent public health priority. Aside from genetic factors, possible explanations include:
Health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease, which are more common in black and minority ethnic individuals
Sociodemographic factors: For example ethnic minority families are more likely to be living in multi-generational families, leading to domestic overcrowding and a higher infective dose of coronavirus
Occupation: black and minority ethnic individuals commonly work as key workers and are therefore more exposed to infection
Lifestyle factors: For example, smoking is particularly prevalent in Bangladeshi men; obesity is more common in black and minority ethnic than White women; a low level of physical activity and vitamin D deficiency are both more common in black and minority ethnic individuals in the UK
Our aim in the COVIDENCE-UK study is to rapidly identify which of the above risk factors might explain why black and minority ethnic individuals appear to be suffering more in the COVID-19 pandemic, so that we can try to prevent infection and reduced its severity in the black and minority ethnic community. We believe that we are collecting more detailed information on risk factors than other studies which have been looking into the ethnicity-COVID link, BUT if we are to achieve our aim we urgently need as many people, 16 years and older, from the black and minority ethnic community to sign up. Unless many hundreds sign up (ideally over 2,000) we will not have sufficient numbers of people from ethnic minorities in the study to reach reliable conclusions.
Please sign up here and help in the fight against coronavirus in the black and minority ethnic community: