Getting to the Root of Added Risk

Since early in the pandemic, older people and people with obesity have been flagged as higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
More and more studies are reinforcing those links, and asking “why?”
It’s not just the underlying conditions that frequently come alongside obesity and advanced age.
Scientists are pointing to the aging immune system as one under-recognized danger, which can cause a “baseline inflammatory chaos” that makes it harder for the immune system to find the right target and more likely for it to overreact in deadly “cytokine storms,” The New York Times reports.
People with obesity are also prone to weakened immune systems in part because fat cells infiltrate the organs where immune cells are produced, Science reports.

As with elderly people, that poses concerns about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines—and underscores the importance of including people with obesity in vaccine trials.

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