Triple jeopardy in ageing: COVID-19, co-morbidities and inflamm-ageing

Irene Maeve Rea, H. Denis Alexander

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
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    Covid-19 endangers lives, has disrupted normal life, changed the way medicine is practised and is likely to alter our world for the foreseeable future. Almost two years on since the presumptive first diagnosis of COVID-19 in China, more than two hundred and fifty million cases have been confirmed and more than five million people have died globally, with the figures rising daily. One of the most striking aspects of COVID-19 illness is the marked difference in individuals’ experiences of the disease. Some, most often younger groups, are asymptomatic, whereas others become severely ill with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia or proceed to fatal organ disease. The highest death rates are in the older and oldest age groups and in people with co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Three major questions seem important to consider. What do we understand about changes in the immune system that might contribute to the older person’s risk of developing severe COVID-19? What factors contribute to the higher morbidity and mortality in older people with COVID-19? How could immunocompetence in the older and the frailest individuals and populations be supported and enhanced to give protection from serious COVID-19 illness?
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101494
    Pages (from-to)1-25
    Number of pages25
    JournalAgeing research reviews
    Early online date22 Oct 2021
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Jan 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    IMR has received funding from EU funded LSH-2002-2.1.4-1-Genetic Factors of Longevity and Healthy Ageing, EU Socrates Erasmus Programme for Thematic Network, Interfacing Science, Literature and Humanities ACUME2 ( 227942-CP-1-2006-1IT-ERASMUS-TN2006-2371/001SO2-23RETH ), Atlantic Philantropies , Changing Ageing Partnership Grant, Belfast Foundation Trust, United Kingdom ( R9158PHM ) (IMR), Wellcome Trust Project Grant, United Kingdom , ( 045519/Z/95/Z ) (IMR), Eastern Health and Social Care Board Research Fellowship Grant Belfast, United Kingdom (IMR) and Belfast City Hospital Trust Fund, United Kingdom (Research and Education into Ageing) ( 0-132 ) (IMR). We thank all age participants recruited as part of Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Ageing Study (BELFAST), who willingly participated in the research and acknowledge the help from Dr David Gibson in the preparation of an earlier version of Fig. 9 .

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021


    • Ageing
    • Co-morbidities
    • COVID-19
    • Cytokine storm, inflamm-ageing
    • Immunosenesence
    • Vaccine efficacy


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