Diabetes, Metformin and COVID-19

Dr Andrew Crouse and others conducted a retrospective electronic health record analysis of 25,326 patients who were tested positive for COVID-19 between 25 February and 22 June 2020 in the Birmingham Hospital at the University of Alabama.  They used mortality as a primary outcome and looked at the association with subject characteristics and comorbidities. 

They found that the odds ratio of contracting COVID-19 was disproportionately high in the following groups:

  • Black/African Americans
  • Those with obesity
  • Those with hypertension
  • Those with diabetes.

Diabetes was also associated with a dramatic increase in mortality and emerged as an independent risk factor in this diverse population, even after correction for age, race, sex, obesity and hypertension.

However, they found that metformin treatment was independently associated with a significant reduction in mortality in subjects with diabetes.

They concluded that, while diabetes is an independent risk factor for COVID-19-related mortality, the risk is dramatically reduced in subjects taking metformin.

This raised the possibility that metformin may provide a protective approach in this high-risk population.

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