Incidence Rate of COVID-19 Infection in Hemoglobinopathies: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
During the coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19) pandemic, several studies were performed to determine the mortality and incidence rates of coronavirus infection among patients with hemoglobinopathies. However, there has been no systematic approach or meta-analysis to evaluate the results worldwide. This meta-analysis summarized the existing evidence of incidence and mortality rates of COVID-19 and related risk factors among patients with hemoglobinopathies with a focus on β-thalassemia (β-thal) and sickle cell disease. The review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses checklist. Two authors independently screened the articles, extracted eligible ones, and assessed the quality of studies using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) checklist. The collected data were analyzed by the Stata software. The amount of heterogeneity was demonstrated by the I2 test. The incidence of COVID-19 among patients with a hemoglobinopathy, β-thal and sickle cell disease was 4.44, 1.34, and 17.22 per 100,000 person-day, respectively, to June 15 2020. The mortality rate of COVID-19 in patients with hemoglobin (Hb) disorders was calculated as 1.07 per 1000 person-day in the same period. Our findings showed a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 in sickle cell disease patients compared to the general population. A slightly higher mortality rate was also observed in patients with hemoglobinopathies compared to the general population, possibly due to the associated risk factors and comorbidities in this vulnerable group, which underscore special care, timely diagnosis and management along with current immunization, were crucial in decreasing the frequency, disease severity and mortality of these patients.