Background and aims: To undertake a review and critical appraisal of published/preprint reports that offer methods of determining the effects of hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cancer, kidney issues, and high-cholesterol on COVID-19 disease severity.
Methods: A search was conducted by two authors independently on the freely available COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). We developed an automated search engine to screen a total of 59,000 articles in a few seconds. Filtering of the articles was then undertaken using keywords and questions, e.g. "Effects of diabetes on COVID/normal coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2/nCoV/COVID-19 disease severity, mortality?". The search terms were repeated for all the comorbidities considered in this paper. Additional articles were retrieved by searching via Google Scholar and PubMed.
Findings: A total of 54 articles were considered for a full review. It was observed that diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol levels possess an apparent relation to COVID-19 severity. Other comorbidities, such as cancer, kidney disease, and stroke, must be further evaluated to determine a strong relationship to the virus.
Conclusion: Reports associating cancer, kidney disease, and stroke with COVID-19 should be carefully interpreted, not only because of the size of the samples, but also because patients could be old, have a history of smoking, or have any other clinical condition suggesting that these factors might be associated with the poor COVID-19 outcomes rather than the comorbidity itself. Further research regarding this relationship and its clinical management is warranted.
Keywords: COVID-19; Cancer; Coronavirus; Diabetes; High blood pressure; High cholesterol; Hypertension; Kidney; SARS-CoV-2; Stroke.
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