Washington Post: Obese Americans suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus

UC expert says the dysregulated immune response in obese people could impact vaccine efficacy

While the obesity epidemic has made it harder for the United States to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, at the same time, the pandemic has made it harder for Americans to fight obesity.

In an article examining this issue, the Washington Post turned to several experts, including Rajat Madan, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine. 

A doctor in a lab coat fills a test tube in a laboratory

Rajat Madan, MD, PhD, in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

Madan pointed out results from the Pfizer vaccine trial found similar results in vaccine efficacy between obese and non-obese populations. But he told the Post it might be possible obese people will see their immunity wane faster or will need an extra booster shot. 

“Obese individuals have a dysregulated immune response. In that sense, one would think that COVID-19 vaccines may have less efficacy,” Madan said. 

The Washington Post report says researchers have found having obesity already increases one’s likelihood of hospitalization for COVID-19 by 113% and chances of dying of the illness by 48%.

Read the full story here

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