Impact of Ethnicity and Underlying Comorbidity on COVID-19 Inhospital Mortality: An Observational Study in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Asma Deeb, Khulood Khawaja, Nida Sakrani, Abdulla Alakhras, Ahmed Al Mesabi, Ravi Trehan, Palat Chirakkara Kumar, Zahir Babiker, Nico Nagelkerke, Emmanuel Fru-Nsutebu

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The UAE reported its first cluster of COVID 2019 in a group of returned travellers from Wuhan in January 2020. Various comorbidities are associated with worse disease prognosis. Understanding the impact of ethnicity on the disease outcome is an important public health issue but data from our region is lacking. Aim. We aim to identify comorbidities among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that are associated with inhospital death. Also, to assess if ethnicity is correlated with increased risk of death. Patients and Method. The study is a single-centre, observational study in Shaikh Shakhbout Medical City, Abu Dhabi. Patients admitted with COVID-19, between 1st of March and the end of May, were enrolled. Records were studied for demography, comorbidity, and ethnicity. Ethnicity was divided into Arabs (Gulf, North Africa, and the Levant), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Afghanistan), Africans, the Philippines, and others. The study was approved by the Department of Health of Abu Dhabi. Results. 1075 patients (972 males) were enrolled. There were 24 nationalities under 5 ethnicity groups. Mean (average) age was 51 years (20-81). 101 (9.4%) died with deceased patients being significantly older. Death risk was not significantly influenced by sex. Duration of hospitalization among survivors was 6.2 days (0.2-40.4) with older patients and men staying longer (P<0.01). Comorbidities of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal disease, liver disease, and malignancy were associated with higher risk of mortality univariate, but only liver disease reached statistical significance after adjustment for age. The highest percentage of death was seen in Arab Levant (21.2) followed by the Asian Afghan (18.8); however, differences among ethnicities did not reach statistical significance (P=0.086). Conclusion. COVID-19 outcome was worse in older people and those with comorbidities. Men and older patients required longer hospitalization. Ethnicity is not seen to impact the risk of mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6695707
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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