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UWI Professor co-authors COVID-19 research that reveals shift workers more likely to be hospitalised.

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UWI Professor co-authors COVID-19 research that reveals shift workers more likely to be hospitalised.

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. W.I. Wednesday, April 28, 2021—People who work shifts appear to be significantly more likely to end up in hospital with COVID-19, than people who have regular work patterns, suggests research published in the online British medical journal, Thorax.

Professor Simon Anderson, Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is a joint first author of the journal paper entitled, “Shift work is associated with positive COVID-19 status in hospitalized patients.”

According to the study, “Globally, shift work is becoming increasingly common, with 10% to 40% of workers in most countries doing so.” A press statement issued by Thorax states that shift work is associated with lung disease and infections, so the study investigated the impact of shift work on significant COVID-19 illness. The research was conducted using the UK Biobank Resource, funded by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. It details that data on more than 280,000 participants aged 40 to 69 was used in the UK Biobank study, together with data from other resources such as Hospital Episode Statistics and GP records.

Professor Anderson noted, “Although the research undertaken is of a UK perspective, shift work and its bio-psycho-social consequences within the Caribbean context, might benefit from implementing safety protocols and ongoing training that reduces the risk of COVID-19 amongst individuals who are shift workers”.

In the paper, the researchers conclude, “We show that there is an increased likelihood of COVID-19 in shift workers that is comparable with known COVID-19 risk factors. We would advocate that shift work is treated as a modifiable risk factor for COVID-19. Sensible precautions in the workplace for shift workers might include increased after-hours training and supervision on safety protocols, increased cleaning schedules, reduced numbers of workers on any one shift, providing personal protective equipment to shift workers and targeting them for early COVID-19 vaccination programmes.”



Prof. Simon Anderson

Research: Shift work is associated with positive COVID-19 status in hospitalised patients

Photo: Professor Simon Anderson, Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre at The UWI

About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)