Obesity speeds up loss of immunity
Obesity can affect the body’s ability to produce antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 infection, study
According to new research done by the University of Queensland, being overweight may impair the body’s antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection but not immunisation.
Previous study has shown that being overweight, not merely obese, worsens the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection; current research shows that being overweight impairs the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection but not to vaccination.
The new study, published in the journal Clinical & Translational Immunology, collected blood samples from people recovering from COVID-19 without reinfection between 3 and 13 months after infection.
According to the data, having a higher BMI three months after infection is associated with lower antibody levels. At 13 months after infection, a high BMI is associated with decreased antibody activity and a smaller number of relevant B cells, both of which are required for the development of COVID-fighting antibodies. Surprisingly, having a high BMI has no effect on the antibody response to COVID-19 immunisation six months after the second dose.
The researchers emphasised that since infection raises the risk of severe illness and weakens the immune response in overweight people, this group is at a higher risk of reinfection; thus, this group should prioritise vaccination.
Based on the study results, experts advocate for more personalized recommendations tailored to overweight individuals for ongoing COVID-19 management and future pandemics.