Diabetes, obesity, metabolism, and SARS-CoV-2 infection: the end of the beginning.
Cell metabolism. 2021;(3):479-498
The increased prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors in people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness has engendered considerable interest in the metabolic aspects of SARS-CoV-2-induced pathophysiology. Here, I update concepts informing how metabolic disorders and their co-morbidities modify the susceptibility to, natural history, and potential treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a focus on human biology. New data informing genetic predisposition, epidemiology, immune responses, disease severity, and therapy of COVID-19 in people with obesity and diabetes are highlighted. The emerging relationships of metabolic disorders to viral-induced immune responses and viral persistence, and the putative importance of adipose and islet ACE2 expression, glycemic control, cholesterol metabolism, and glucose- and lipid-lowering drugs is reviewed, with attention to controversies and unresolved questions. Rapid progress in these areas informs our growing understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection in people with diabetes and obesity, while refining the therapeutic strategies and research priorities in this vulnerable population.