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Covid-19 and non-communicable diseases: evidence from a systematic literature review

Nikoloski, Zlatko, Alqunaibet, Ada Mohammed, Alfawaz, Rasha Abdulrahman, Almudarra, Sami Saeed, Herbst, Christopher H., El-Saharty, Sameh, Alsukait, Reem and Algwizani, Abdullah (2021) Covid-19 and non-communicable diseases: evidence from a systematic literature review. BMC Public Health, 21 (1). ISSN 1471-2458

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12889-021-11116-w


Background: Since early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed the world. Amidst the growing number of infections and deaths, there has been an emphasis of patients with non-communicable diseases as they are particularly susceptible to the virus. The objective of this literature review is to systematize the available evidence on the link between non-communicable diseases and Covid-19. Methods: We have conducted a systematic review of the literature on Covid-19 and non-communicable diseases from December, 2019 until 15th of November, 2020. The search was done in PubMed and in doing so we used a variety of searching terms in order to isolate the final set of papers. At the end of the selection process, 45 papers were selected for inclusion in the literature review. Results: The results from the review indicate that patients with certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension (and other cardiovascular diseases), chronic respiratory illnesses, chronic kidney and liver conditions are more likely to be affected by Covid-19. More importantly, once they do get infected by the virus, patients with chronic illnesses have a much higher likelihood of having worse clinical outcomes (developing a more severe form of the disease or dying) than an average patient. There are two hypothesized channels that explain this strong link between the chronic illnesses enumerated above and Covid 19: (i) increased ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor expressions, which facilitates the entry of the virus into the host body; and (ii) hyperinflammatory response, referred to as “cytokine storm”. Finally, the literature review does not find any evidence that diabetes or hypertension related medications exacerbate the overall Covid-19 condition in chronic illness patients. Conclusions: Thus, the evidence points out to ‘business as usual’ disease management model, although with greater supervision. However, given the ongoing Covid-19 vulnerabilities among people with NCDs, prioritizing them for the vaccination process should also figure high on the agenda on health authorities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2021 09:24
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 06:45

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