Leptin Deficiency, Caused by Malnutrition, Makes You Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 Infection but Could Offer Protection from Severe COVID-19

Dewald Schoeman, Burtram C. Fielding, Marcela F. Pasetti
2021 mSphere  
In much of the developing world, severe malnutrition is the most prevalent cause of immunodeficiency and affects up to 50% of the population in some impoverished communities. As yet, we do not know how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) will behave in populations with immunodeficiency caused by malnourishment. Interestingly, researchers are now speculating that, in some instances, a defective cellular immune system could paradoxically be a protective factor against
more » ... factor against severe disease in certain patients contracting SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. This could be linked to the absence of T-cell activation. Based on available information presented here, it is plausible that the hyperimmune response, and subsequent cytokine storm often associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), could be "counteracted" by the defective immune response seen in individuals with malnutrition-induced leptin deficiency. In this paper, we proposed a theory that although those with malnutrition-linked leptin deficiency are at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, they are at lower risk of developing severe COVID-19.
doi:10.1128/msphere.00031-21 pmid:33980671 fatcat:2yvbhfaqvjfutgizj2f5pqg3nu