Good abdominal fat may alleviate the course of COVID-19

Even though a high body mass index is a risk factor for COVID-19, the progression of the disease does not solely depend on the fat percentage of a person. What actually matters is the wellbeing of the adipose tissue. According to an international study conducted with the participation of Estonians, this may also explain why COVID-19 is milder in women.

“As far as we currently know, adipose tissue does not alter the likelihood of contraction [of the coronavirus – ed.], but it may play a role in determining the course of the disease,” said Priit Jõers, an Associate Professor of biochemistry at the University of Tartu, and Indrikis Krams, a visiting Professor of biology at the UT. Together with the co-authors Severi Luoto, Markus Rantala and Tatjana Krama, they studied the effect of human adipose tissue on the progression of the new coronavirus

Body mass index, but not only
According to Priit Jõers and Indrikis Krams, the course of COVID-19 is affected by the underlying health conditions of a person. For example, people with cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are at risk of developing more serious symptoms of COVID 19. As these diseases are associated with obesity, the authors do not find it surprising that compared to normal-weight people, people with a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to end up in the hospital with COVID-19.

Read more from Research in Estonia website.