Researchers at the Weill Cornell Medicine in New York (USA) this week published a study explaining why overweight patients are more exposed to severe illnesses and even death from COVID-19.
Studies have found that the Coronavirus infects both fat cells and certain immune cells in body fat, thus prompting a damaging defensive response in the body that also affects the surrounding tissue. The more fat mass, and in particular visceral fat mass, the worse the inflammatory reaction.
The coronavirus appears to be able to evade body fat immune defences, which are limited and incapable of fighting the infection effectively; obese people can obviously have a lot of body fat.
The data also suggest that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments may need to consider the patient’s weight and fat stores to achieve an effective administration and response.