Understanding the mechanisms driving severe COVID-19
Several important studies characterizing SARS-CoV-2 infected patients world-wide have identified that obesity is a risk factor for the development of severe symptoms and the need for mechanical ventilation. More recently, obesity was found to associate with severe respiratory failure, prolonged hospitalization and delayed viral clearance. Early during the pandemic we recognised that obesity might be a risk factor for ICU admission based on our clinical observations and performed a preliminary study investigating the link between leptin and severe respiratory symptoms. Obesity can lead to poor vaccine efficacy therefore even when vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, interventions that tackle the severe symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 in obese patients will likely still be needed. This provided the basis of our project for which we received funding from ZonMw.
Our multisiciplinary team of clinicians and researchers from different hospitals in the Netherlands are working together to uncover why overweight SARS-CoV-2 patients appear to have more severe symptoms, and more importantly the mechanisms driving respiratory and multiple organ failure in these patients.
Figure (right) adapted from van der Voort et al., 2020 Heliyon e04696. Possible mechanisms which might play an important role driving severe COVID-19 in obese individuals.
Met het COVID-19 programma draagt ZonMw met onderzoek bij aan het bestrijden van de coronapandemie en aan het voorkomen of verminderen van negatieve effecten van de maatregelen. Met onze partners creëren we inzicht in de (mondiale) maatschappelijke dynamiek tijdens en na afloop van deze en vergelijkbare, ingrijpende gezondheidscrises en de maatregelen daartegen.