Obesity might be an issue for COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

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The FINANCIAL — Obesity makes it more difficult to vaccinate adults against influenza. Will this be the case for COVID-19 too? Evidence that obese people have a blunted response to common vaccines was first observed in 1985. Moreover, having obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The researchers found that 22 percent of obese patients were intubated, 25 percent died, and 2 percent remained hospitalized during a median hospital length of stay of seven days.

A coronavirus vaccine, once found, likely won’t be as effective in protecting people who are obese, researchers have warned.  “Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way,” Raz Shaikh, an associate professor with the University of North Carolina’s nutrition department, told the outlet. “Will it still work in the obese?” he asked. “Our prediction is no.” But it doesn’t mean that when a vaccine is rolled out, obese people shouldn’t get inoculated, argues Dr. Timothy Garvey, the University of Alabama’s director of diabetes research. However, the issue is still of particular concern in the United States, where more than 107 million people are considered obese, meaning their weight is higher than what is considered healthy for their height, The New York Post reported.

In the case of influenza, obesity has emerged as a factor making it more difficult to vaccinate adults against infection. The question is whether that will hold true for Covid-19. Evidence that obese people have a blunted response to common vaccines was first observed in 1985 when obese hospital employees who received the hepatitis B vaccine showed a significant decline in protection 11 months later that was not observed in non-obese employees. The finding was replicated in a follow-up study that used longer needles to ensure the vaccine was injected into muscle and not fat. Researchers found similar problems with the hepatitis A vaccine, and other studies have found significant declines in the antibody protection induced by tetanus and rabies vaccines in obese people, CNN wrote.

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Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has brought change to the lifestyle of most citizens in America, some communities have been more heavily impacted than others. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) found that while African Americans consist of 13% of the US population, they have accounted for 33% of the people hospitalized with Covid-19. In a national survey conducted in 2018, African-Americans are 20% less likely to participate in physical activities compared to non-Hispanic whites. Approximately 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese, which accounts for one of the highest rates of obesity when compared to other groups in the United States, according to Forbes.

Michaela R. Anderson, M.D., from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues examined whether obesity is associated with intubation or death, inflammation, cardiac injury, or fibrinolysis in COVID-19 in a retrospective cohort study. Data were included from 2,466 adults hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection during a 45-day period. The researchers found that 22 percent of patients were intubated, 25 percent died, and 2 percent remained hospitalized during a median hospital length of stay of seven days. Patients with obesity had an increased risk for intubation or death compared with overweight patients, with the risk highest for class 3 obesity (hazard ratio, 1.6). The association was mainly seen for patients aged younger than 65 years and not in older patients, Medical Xpress wrote.

Obesity is one of the biggest health crises in England too. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year.

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UK unveiled new obesity strategy as country urged to lose weight to beat coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the NHS.

  • Ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
  • End of deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food high in salt, sugar and fat
  • Calories to be displayed on menus to help people make healthier choices when eating out – while alcoholic drinks could soon have to list hidden ‘liquid calories’
  • New campaign to help people lose weight, get active and eat better after COVID-19 ‘wake-up call’

It should be noted that growing number of recovered coronavirus patients report hair loss. A Study Conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert and Survivor Corps shows that 27% of patients recovering from COVID-19 reported hair loss as one of the lingering problems in a survey of more than 1,500 people. Read more

Last month, Synairgen plc, the respiratory drug discovery and development company which originated from research at the University of Southampton, announced positive results from its clinical trial of SNG001, its wholly-owned inhaled formulation of interferon beta, in hospitalised COVID-19 patients. Researchers have announced the results of an initial trial which found the odds of Covid-19 patients not needing ventilation, or dying, while being treated in hospital were 79% better among those given SNG001 compared with those given a placebo.

FDA recalled more than 75 toxic hand sanitizers

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