Livio Luzi, Maria Grazia Radaelli
Analyze the relationship between obesity and influenza.
Basal hormone milieu, defective response of both innate and adaptive immune system and sedentariness are major determinants in the severity of influenza viral infection in obese patients. Being overweight not only increases the risk of infection and of complications for the single obese person, but a large prevalence of obese individuals within the population might increase the chance of appearance of more virulent viral strain, prolongs the virus shedding throughout the total population and eventually might increase overall mortality rate of an influenza pandemic.
Waiting for the development of a vaccination against COVID-19, isolation of positive cases and social distancing are the primary interventions. Nonetheless, evidence from previous influenza pandemics suggests the following interventions aimed at improving immune response: (1) lose weight with a mild caloric restriction; (2) include AMPK activators and PPAR gamma activators in the drug treatment for obesity associated with diabetes; and (3) practice mild-to-moderate physical exercise.
Due to prolonged viral shedding, quarantine in obese subjects should likely be longer than normal weight individuals.