SARS-CoV-2 infection and obesity: Common inflammatory and metabolic aspects

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020 Jul-Aug;14(4):469-471. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.04.033. Epub 2020 Apr 29.


Backround and aims: According to the World Obesity Federation, "obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2)"; additionally the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported that "people with heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 complications and that severe obesity poses a higher risk for severe illness". Recent reports have shown elevated levels of cytokines due to increased inflammation in patients with SARS-CoV-2 disease. On the other hand, obesity represents a state of low-grade inflammation, with various inflammatory products directly excreted by adipose tissue. In this concise report we aimed to assess common elements of obesity and SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods: Pubmed search on obesity and SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Results: We present "mechanistic" obesity-related problems that aggravate SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as tentative inflammatory/metabolic links between these diseases.

Conclusion: Obesity and SARS-CoV-2 share common elements of the inflammatory process (and possibly also metabolic disturbances), exacerbating SARS-CoV-2 infection in the obese.

Keywords: Coronavirus; Glucose; Human; Infection; Inflammation; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / etiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2