Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2020;28(7):1178-1179
Plain language summary
A UK study showed that 72% of COVID-19 patients in critical care units had either overweight or obesity, whilst studies in Italy have shown that 99% of deaths occurred in patients who had at least one underlying chronic condition, including obesity, diabetes and hypertension. As obesity is tightly connected with diabetes and other inflammatory conditions, it is difficult to separate the effects of the obesity per se, from other chronic conditions that are commonly associated with the obesity. The authors discuss possible molecular mechanisms by which the fat tissue itself may increase the risk of more severe COVID-19 disease, such as angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors and dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (two receptors which occur in fat tissue and may be entry points of the virus into the cell) and an imbalance between the secretion of anti‐ and proinflammatory compounds from visceral fat cells. The authors conclude that the role of the adipose (fat) tissue during infectious diseases, such as COVID‐19, could be important and note that this is a modifiable risk factor.