Every country has started research on vaccines that can help in fighting this war with COVID-19. However, countries are trying to know if there are any chances of an ethnicity linked with COVID-19. Recently, the UK government has funded the projects for the academics at the University of Leicester to investigate, if there is a higher risk of developing Covid-19 in people belonging to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds or BAME backgrounds.
Dr. Manish Pareek, chief investigator of the UK-REACH Study, said, “We have evidence that clearly states that people from BAME background are at a high risk to develop severe Covid-19 likewise for healthcare staff.
A recent report from Public Health England(PHE) highlights the fact that 63 percent of the total healthcare staff who died due to Covid-19 were of BAME background.
Also, with this study, we are working in the direction to improve the lives of healthcare staff”, said Dr. Pareek.
There are no exact figures that can tell the total lives lost due to COVID-19 by the healthcare workers in England.
Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that taking age and other socio-demographic factors into account, people from South Asian and black and African Caribbean communities are at a higher risk from COVID than others. The reason for this is not known.
As per Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England and Head of NHIR, the projects that are being funded by NHIR and UKRI will assist in gaining knowledge of this association in detail. This study will help in developing approaches and treatments to eradicate this link between people with BAME backgrounds and COVID-19. The candidates for this study will have embedded patients as well as public involvement from people who belong to Asian, black, and minority ethnic communities for all clinical stages.
These six new projects will specifically study the impact of coronavirus. This study will help in creating a new framework, with the help of representatives within the BAME community.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, an Indian origin academics leading center for BAME health in Leicester, mentioned that the University of Leicester has been working internationally to study the impact of COVID-19on people belonging to these minority groups.
Furthermore, it has also been busy with developing a Risk reduction framework for the staff of NHS with an extensive report, that recommends a string of policies that reduces health inequalities related to COVID-19.
Oxford and Southampton University, are looking at the data of the COVID-19 BAME patients who died across England. Parallelly research is being conducted that will study mental wellbeing, physical activity, and genetics of 500,000 people. The samples of their urine, blood, and saliva have been collected since 2006 that was gathered by the UK Biobank project.
UK Science Minister, Amanda Solloway said, this pandemic has affected each and everyone around the globe. However, the people from black, Asian, and other minorities have been affected disproportionately by this virus. There is a dire need to understand the reasons behind the higher risk to these communities.