Mortality in People with Type 2 Diabetes Following SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Population Level Analysis of Potential Risk Factors

Diabetes Ther. 2022 May;13(5):1037-1051. doi: 10.1007/s13300-022-01259-3. Epub 2022 Apr 13.


Introduction: Research is ongoing to increase our understanding of how much a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) affects someone's risk of becoming seriously unwell following a COVID-19 infection. In this study we set out to determine the relative likelihood of death following COVID-19 infection in people with T2DM when compared to those without T2DM. This was conducted as an urban population study and based in the UK.

Methods: Analysis of electronic health record data was performed relating to people living in the Greater Manchester conurbation (population 2.82 million) who had a recorded diagnosis of T2DM and subsequent COVID-19 confirmed infection. Each individual with T2DM (n = 13,807) was matched with three COVID-19-infected non-diabetes controls (n = 39,583). Data were extracted from the Greater Manchester Care Record (GMCR) database for the period 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021. Social disadvantage was assessed through Townsend scores. Death rates were compared in people with T2DM to their respective non-diabetes controls; potential predictive factors influencing the relative likelihood of admission were ascertained using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

Results: For individuals with T2DM, their mortality rate after a COVID-19 positive test was 7.7% vs 6.0% in matched controls; the relative risk (RR) of death was 1.28. From univariate analysis performed within the group of individuals with T2DM, the likelihood of death following a COVID-19 recorded infection was lower in people taking metformin, a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2i) or a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and hypertension were associated with increased mortality and had odds ratios of 0.96 (95% confidence interval 0.96-0.97) and 1.92 (95% confidence interval 1.68-2.20), respectively. Likelihood of death following a COVID-19 infection was also higher in those people with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or severe enduring mental illness but not with asthma, and in people taking aspirin/clopidogrel/insulin. Smoking in people with T2DM significantly increased mortality rate (odds ratio of 1.46; 95% confidence interval 1.29-1.65). In a combined analysis of patients with T2DM and controls, multiple regression modelling indicated that the factors independently relating to a higher likelihood of death (accounting for 26% of variance) were T2DM, age, male gender and social deprivation (higher Townsend score).

Conclusion: Following confirmed infection with COVID-19 a number of factors are associated with mortality in individuals with T2DM. Prescription of metformin, SGLT2is or GLP-1 agonists and non-smoking status appeared to be associated with a reduced the risk of death for people with T2DM. Age, male sex and social disadvantage are associated with an increased risk of death.

Keywords: Covid-19; Mortality; SARS-CoV-2; Type 2 diabetes.