Study: Obese men not at increased risk for COVID-19 ICU death
A new meta-analysis of 58 studies shows obese men are not at increased risk of death from COVID-19 when admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), but those with a history of smoking, diabetes, or kidney disease were at increased risk.
The study, published yesterday in Anaesthesia, contradicts other published findings that have linked male sex and obesity to worse COVID-19 outcomes.
The 58 studies included a total of 44,305 patients, of which 29,889 (68.9%) were men. The authors say medical frailty—not sex or weight—is the most important factor to consider when looking at increased mortality risks.
Compared with patients without underlying illnesses, patients were 40% more likely to die if they had a history of smoking, 54% more likely with hypertension, 41% more likely with diabetes, 75% more likely with respiratory disease, and 91% more likely with cardiovascular disease.
Other, more severe conditions were also linked to mortality, including organ failure, mechanical ventilation, and elevated white blood cell counts.
"The findings confirm the association between diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory comorbidities with mortality in COVID-19 patients. However, the reported associations between male sex and increasing BMI are not supported by this meta-analysis," the authors concluded.
Jun 29 Anaesthesia study
Some wildlife species may harbor SARS-CoV-2 and pose risk to people
Inoculation with SARS-CoV-2 resulted in viral shedding in deer mice, bushy-tailed woodrats, and striped skunks but not cottontail rabbits, fox squirrels, Wyoming ground squirrels, black-tailed prairie dogs, house mice, or raccoons, according to an Emerging Infectious Diseases study yesterday.
The researchers chose these animals based on their peridomestic status in the United States. In other words, because these wild animals are often in close contact with humans, they may present future danger if SARS-CoV-2 is able to infect them, evolve, and then cross back to humans.
While protein analyses of amino acid residues of molecules such as the animals' spike protein may suggest potential SARS-CoV-2 infection, the researchers say that specific species susceptibility is difficult to predict, especially in diverse groups such as rodents.
Biosamples were collected from the animals pre- and post-inoculation, and necropsies were performed after they were euthanized. Deer mice, bushy-tailed woodrats, and striped skunks shed the virus orally, nasally, or both up to 7 days post-infection. Specimens from the three species developed neutralizing antibodies, but none showed clinical signs of disease.
The researchers note that the relatively high titers in some of the infected woodrat tissues (5.2log10 plaque-forming unit per gram of lung) indicate that a predator-prey transmission scenario may be possible.
"Our results and the results of others indicate that so far, most exposed wildlife species show development of mild to no clinical disease and either did not shed virus or shed low levels for short durations," the researchers write.
"However, results of this study and results of others, combined with the dramatic response to infection seen in certain species, such as mink, indicate that SARS-CoV-2 might infect infecting [sic] wildlife, establishing a transmission cycle, and becoming endemic in nonhuman species."
Jun 29 Emerg Infect Dis study