COVID-19; Inflammation and Obesity Links

  • April 13, 2020

Obesity is the biggest single chronic risk factor for hospital admission in patients under 60, increasing the risk 2-3-fold. Data from the CDC, supported by clinical studies in China, Europe and now New York have shown that raised liver enzymes and high blood pressure also add risk, suggesting that over 70 million Americans with obesity, who are therefore at risk of steatohepatitis and metabolic syndrome should take particular precautions. Genetics of liver inflammation may help stratify high-risk obese patients, and MRI with LiverMultiScan is a well-established, safe and accurate method of assessing liver inflammation. These patients may need to self-isolate for longer than others and should be prioritised for vaccination and early pharmacological treatments when these become available.

Donna Cryer, President of the Global Liver Institute states that "Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on specific patient populations such as those with obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease and NASH is essential to providing actionable advice to clinicians and patients to provide optimal care and avoid needless deaths. The Global Liver Institute is committed to working with researchers and innovators around the world like Perspectum to rapidly assess and inform a robust response to this pandemic”

Perspectum is ideally placed to help the medical community understand the impact of COVID-19 and will be launching a new study: COVERSCAN. This study, in the UK, has been granted accelerated review and will use detailed imaging to understand the damage caused by the virus to survivors who are over the acute phase, to see how quickly our internal organs heal. Mary Xu, Head of Clinical Affairs at Perspectum who is running the study, explained: “To maximise patient safety we will run this study in dedicated locations with rapid imaging and blood tests to help the scientific community, the patients and their physicians understand what we are dealing with in the medium to long term. Anyone with confirmed infection is welcome to contact us.”