Phesi COVID-19 study indicates obesity a major complicating factor

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(kevajefimija/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(kevajefimija/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags COVID-19 Coronavirus Obesity data analysis Phesi

The virtual clinical development firm’s analysis of patient profiles reflects obesity is the most significant indicator for severity in those under 40.

Phesi has released a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 patient profiles, based on data from 166,239 individuals from 56 countries (including the US, UK, France, Brazil, China, and Spain. The data (collected from January 2020 to April 2021 shows obesity poses the highest risk factor for poorer outcomes from COVID-19 for patients under the age of 40.

However, the company points out, while other commonly discussed comorbidities (such as hypertension and diabetes) commonly exist within the population of patients diagnosed with the virus, the occurrence reflects the underlying disease profiles of the age groups, and it is not a specific risk factor correlating with poorer outcomes from COVID-19.

Gen Li, president and founder of Phesi, said analysis of broad COVID-19 patient data sets (like this recent analysis by his company) is vital in understanding the disease.

While it is true that patients with underlying conditions often have poorer outcomes, the proportion is equal to that in the general population​,” he said. “This illustrates that the real indicator of the severity of COVID-19 is obesity, regardless of age​.”

(Image: Phesi)

The Phesi report also shares the most frequently presenting symptoms for COVID-19: fever, shortness of breath, and cough. Also, about 23% of patients also present with nausea, a less commonly discussed symptom.

Further, the analysis determined a wide range of medications have been and continue to be used to treat COVID-19. Still, the company relates, none has been proven to be completely effective; the most commonly used medications include:

  • Antibiotics: 93%
  • Remdesivir: 5%
  • Hydroxychloroquine: 60%
  • Corticosteroids: 20%
  • Azithromycin: 62%
  • Lopinavir/ritonavir: 39%
  • Glucocorticoids: 24%

Phesi’s chief medical officer, Paul Chew, said the data set likely will yield useful data for public health campaigns, planning COVID-19 clinical development programs, and possibly a resource for any similar coronaviruses that emerge down the road.

Comprehensive data sets and analyses such as this are important for governments and health officials in future planning – to help build targeted public health campaigns that are preventative, including those around obesity​,” Chew commented.

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