Viral respiratory infection in people with obesity – A review

Mohammad Ali Saghiri, Chun Kai Tang


This review article focused on a statistical analysis of the obesity population’s viral infection rate and compared the effects from different viral respiratory infections, such as abnormal immune responses and hyperglycemia in the population with obesity. Obesity has become more prevalent in developed countries while still less in developing countries. People with obesity have higher adipose fat accumulation underneath the organ membrane and in-between tissues, which can lead to abnormal organ function and respiratory difficulties. Respiratory problems can exist in people with obesity that usually related to hypertension and dyslipidemia. Meanwhile, obesity downregulates many immune and metabolic responses in the body. Viruses like H1N1, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 have pathological damages in the lung shared in common, in which a higher severity was observed in people with obesity. The review was done by an online article search from PubMed, Google Scholar, and NEMJ database to allocate potential case studies and review articles of our keyword criteria. The initial article search layout 206 articles related to obesity, respiratory, and virus in human studies carried out from 2000 to 2020. Further analysis has shown that 15 articles pointed out a clear relationship between obesity and viral infection. Influenza, MERS, and SARS coronaviruses reported a significantly higher infection rate in the population with obesity condition. However, there were inconsistent results regarding the relationship between obesity and pneumonia, in which pneumonia was observed in most viral respiratory infections. Comparing pathological evidence from obesity and SARS viral infections, both share in common on hyperglycemia and increase of ACE engagement, whether it is to increase blood pressure or increase virus entry. Obesity condition itself makes consequent treatments even more difficult. In suggestion, there is a need to conduct further extensive clinical studies on the people with obesity that are COVID-19 positive.  


Influenza, Obesity, Respiratory, SARS, Virus

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