Immune response to COVID-19 in older adults

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2021 Oct;40(10):1082-1089. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2021.04.017. Epub 2021 May 11.


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the third highly pathogenic coronavirus to emerge in the human population in last two decades. SARS-CoV-2 spread from Wuhan, China, across the globe, causing an unprecedented public healthcare crisis. The virus showed remarkable age dependent pathology, with symptoms resembling common cold in most adults and children while causing more severe respiratory distress and significant mortality in older and frail humans. Even before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak infectious diseases represented one of the major causes of death of older adults. Loss of immune function and reduced protection from infectious agents with age - immunosenescence - is a result of complex mechanisms affecting production and maintenance of immune cells as well as the initiation, maintenance and termination of properly directed immune responses. Here we briefly discuss the current knowledge on how this process affects age-dependent outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Sars-CoV-2; aging; immunity; severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity*