New Study Provides Insights Into How Aging May Increase Risk of Severe Disease and Death from Covid-19

A new research article, which is peer reviewed and just released in preview form in JCI Insight, provides important insights into how aging may increase risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19.

The study analyses 24 COVID-19 autopsy samples and 43 lung samples from uninfected organ donors across broad age spectrum, and it shows that a key progenitor cell in the lung, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks at very early stages of infection, also becomes progressively depleted with human aging. The depletion of this key lung cell could leave older people with decreased reserve for lung repair and thus at higher risk for not recovering from COVID-19. The results underline the importance of early intervention to protect the lung in older individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and have implications for designing strategies to protect the lungs of older individuals.

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The article, titled: Immune and epithelial determinants of age-related risk and alveolar injury in fatal COVID-19, was published in preview form in JCI Insight on April 21.

Authors: Michael Chait, Mine M Yilmaz, Shanila Shakil, Amy W Ku, Pranay Dogra, Thomas J Connors, Peter A Szabo, Joshua I Gray, Steven B Wells, Masaru Kubota, Rei Matsumoto, Maya Ml Poon, Mark E Snyder, Matthew R Baldwin, Peter A Sims, Anjali Saqi, Donna L Farber, Stuart P Weisberg