Men, older adults ‘more likely’ to develop severe, critical COVID-19, study says

Published December 9, 2021, 4:07 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Men and those in the older age group are more likely to develop severe and critical cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), based on the initial results of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s (RITM) study on the clinical characteristics and transmission patterns of COVID-19.

(Screenshot from DOST-PCHRD Facebook page)

The initial results of the P9.7-million RITM study, “Clinical Characteristics and Transmission Patterns of COVID-19 in Confirmed Cases and their Contacts in the Philippines” were presented by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the virtual “Talakayang HeaRTBeat” on DOST’s BIG 21 in 2021-COVID-19 Projects on Thursday, Dec. 9.

The RITM researchers initially found that 83.41 percent of enrolled cases presented with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

“Based on the case hospitalization ratio, COVID-19 presents a challenge to our healthcare system as almost half of the cases are hospitalized,” de la Peña said.

“Males are also found to be more likely to develop severe and critical presentation.”

The project is led by Dr. Mayan Lumandas of the RITM in partnership with the Ospital ng Muntinlupa in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. It aims to understand the key clinical, epidemiological and virological characteristics of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and their contacts detected in the country.

Citing the preliminary data gathered by the project team, the DOST chief said patients 18 years old and above had mild classification or were asymptomatic, while those in the older age group had severe and critical classifications.

“Majority of the cases had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days,” he said.

He noted that the most common reported symptoms are cough, fever, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of appetite, runny nose, diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of smell and taste, and fatigue.

The most common complication is pneumonia followed by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the initial results of the study revealed.

Funded by DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the project studied COVID-19 transmission patterns and disease severity, and analyzed the spectrum of disease and impact on the community.

“The information gathered in this research will help guide DOH and policy makers in formulating guidelines for case isolation, contact tracing and disease control and prevention.The study will also help improve and guide efforts to understand transmission of COVID-19 to prevent further spread of the disease,” de la Peña said.

The RITM study is included in the agency’s list of 21 high impact technologies and game-changing research and development (R&D) projects which was unveiled on Sept. 7.