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Why fat cells could play an important role in how sick you get with COVID

New research indicates fat could play an important role in COVID infections.

HOUSTON — It has been a trend since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors noticed overweight patients tended to develop more severe COVID-19 and were more likely to die.

While these patients often had underlying health conditions like diabetes, scientists still became convinced something else was going on.

Now, new research has found that coronavirus infects both fat cells and immune cells within body fat. Some scientists believe that may be how the virus evades our immune response by hiding in our fat. The more fat you have, the more places where the virus can live, triggering a destructive response.

Thanks to this research, there is also speculation that the infected body fat could also be contributing to cases of long COVID.

The study still needs to be peer-reviewed, but if it holds up, it could spark new treatments for COVID that target body fat. The data could also prompt a different approach to vaccines forcing doctors to take into account weight and body fat when they address prevention and treatment with patients.

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