Aims Public Health England has identified that in COVID-19, death rates among ethnic minorities far exceeds that of the white population. While the increase in ethnic minorities is likely to be multifactorial, to date, no studies have looked to see whether values for routine clinical biochemistry parameters differ between ethnic minority and white individuals.
Methods Baseline biochemical data for 22 common tests from 311 SARS-CoV-2 positive patients presenting to hospital in April 2020 in whom ethnicity data were available was retrospectively collected and evaluated. Data comparisons between ethnic minority and white groups were made for all patient data and for the subset of patients subsequently admitted to intensive care.
Results When all patient data were considered, the ethnic minority population had statistically significant higher concentrations of C reactive protein (CRP), aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase, while troponin T was higher in the white group. A greater proportion of ethnic minority patients were subsequently admitted to intensive care, but when the presenting biochemistry of this subset of patients was compared, no significant differences were observed between ethnic minority and white groups.
Conclusion Our data show for the first time that routine biochemistry at hospital presentation in COVID-19 differs between ethnic minority and white groups. Among the markers identified, CRP was significantly higher in the ethnic minority group pointing towards an increased tendency for severe inflammation in this group.
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article.
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Handling editor Tahir S Pillay.
Contributors All authors contributed to design and execution of the study. All authors reviewed and edited the article and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.