Obesity is linked to an elevated risk of COVID-19 start, development, and consequences because obesity is a complex chronic illness characterized by abnormal or excessive fat. Acute treatment and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), intubation, and mechanical ventilation are more common among obese adults, especially those under 60. In specific investigations, patients with obesity had a higher COVID-19 mortality rate. Among children with severe COVID-19, obesity is the most often reported underlying medical problem.
A person’s immune response to infectious agents is weakened when they have obesity, which leads to low-grade systemic inflammation, increased infection risk, and reduced immunological response. Besides affecting the viral life cycle, obesity may also have an impact because of the inherent immunological disturbances and weakened immune response it causes, which can lead to worse clinical results than in those with a normal BMI (BMI). People with obesity who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 had a long time to clear the virus, which might corroborate the theory that obesity increases the risk of severe COVID-19. The positive relationship between body weight and the time it takes to find no evidence of the COVID-19 gene suggests that obese people have a higher viral load, and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in adipose tissue may be a crucial link between obesity, non-communicable diseases, and the vulnerability and severity of COVID-19.
Vaccination against influenza A virus (IAV) and antimicrobial therapy are less effective in obese people. As a result, other vaccinations may have diminished effectiveness in this demographic. Immunization against COVID-19 in obese adults has not been studied. However, research on IAV H1N1 vaccination has shown that obesity is a host-associated factor that can limit vaccine efficacy. An increase in body mass index was linked to a slower fall in influenza A antibody titer after a year, suggesting that obesity may impede the body’s ability to establish a protective immunological response to the flu virus. Insufficient T cell activity may explain the poorer efficiency of influenza vaccinations in obese persons, as peripheral blood mononuclear cells from these individuals exhibit reduced activation of cytotoxic T cells and lower expression of functional markers.
In the near term, subgroup analysis of the COVID-19 immunization studies showed that the effectiveness in individuals with obesity was comparable to that seen in the general population, which was encouraging. In a recent randomized experiment, according to the results, individuals with obesity and other coexisting illnesses, including hypertension, had somewhat poorer vaccination efficiency than those with fewer coexisting disorders. As a result, we’ve come to the conclusion that obese people should be urged to get the COVID-19 vaccine and given priority treatment, just like other vulnerable groups like those with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory disease, as well as those with compromised immune systems or cancers. The effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccinations in children are now being investigated in ongoing research. Because of this, people with obesity face an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection. As a result, people with obesity must receive priority for COVID-19 vaccination, and research into the long-term effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination on neutralizing antibody levels and infection rates in children, adolescents, and adults with obesity must be promoted.
- Busetto L, Bettini S, Fabris R, Serra R, Dal Pra C, Maffei P, et al. Obesity and COVID-19: an Italian Snapshot. Obesity. 2020 Sep;28(9):1600–5.
- Honce R, Schultz-Cherry S. Impact of obesity on influenza A virus pathogenesis, immune response, and evolution. Front Immunol. 2019 May;10:1071.