Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a growing pandemic with an increasing death toll that has been linked to various comorbidities as well as racial disparity. However, the specific characteristics of these at-risk populations are still not known and approaches to lower mortality are lacking..
..The odds ratio of contracting COVID-19 was disproportionately high in Blacks/African-Americans (OR 2.6; 95% CI 2.19–3.10; p<0.0001) and in subjects with obesity (OR 1.93; 95% CI 1.64–2.28; p<0.0001), hypertension (OR 2.46; 95% CI 2.07–2.93; p<0.0001), and diabetes (OR 2.11; 95% CI 1.78–2.48; p<0.0001). Diabetes was also associated with a dramatic increase in mortality (OR 3.62; 95% CI 2.11–6.2; p<0.0001) and emerged as an independent risk factor in this diverse population even after correcting for age, race, sex, obesity, and hypertension. Interestingly, we found that metformin treatment prior to diagnosis of COVID-19 was independently associated with a significant reduction in mortality in subjects with diabetes and COVID-19 (OR 0.33; 95% CI 0.13–0.84; p=0.0210).
Conclusion: Thus, 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 prior to diagnosis of COVID-19, raising the possibility that metformin may provide a protective approach in this high risk population.