Is COVID-19 Dangerous for Obese People? Researchers Searching

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 10:30

Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center are studying a hormone which they believe it may be the reason COVID-19 is dangerous for obese people.

Researchers think a hormone that involves metabolism and the immune response system may be the reason COVID-19 is dangerous for obese people, Fox 8 reports.

Candida Rebello, PhD, RD., is the lead author of the new Pennington article, “Obesity, the Most Common Comorbidity in SARS-CoV-2: Is Leptin the Link?”

In an interview with FOX 8, Dr. Rebello said that obesity and diabetes are connected to high levels of leptin. Additionally, the researchers say increased leptin levels impede the body’s ability to wage war on infections.

“Obesity is related, or is associated with high blood levels of a hormone called leptin, so leptin is released in proportion to the amount of fat stores that we have in our body,” said Rebello. “Even diabetes is associated with the elevated levels of leptin in the blood, so how that relates to COVID-19 and the immune function is that leptin also has a role in immune function.”

The Pennington scientists concluded that obesity and elevated circulating leptin predisposes people with COVID-19 to morbidity and mortality through a compromised immune response.

The researchers said the role of leptin in COVID-19′s development warrants investigation along with the viral proteins that alter the immune systems of obese people.

The Pennington article was published in the International Journal of Obesity.


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