Why does COVID-19 disproportionately affect the elderly?

Amber L. Mueller1*, Maeve S. McNamara1, David A. Sinclair1*

Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research, Blavatnik Institute, Harvard Medical

School, Boston, MA 20115

Dr. David Sinclair, a Harvard researcher on the science of aging has recently released a paper recommending NAD+ to boost the immune system of seniors in order to prevent COVID-19. You can read the original paper on the Preprints website and reported in various publications. The researchers recommend that:

“Elderly COVID-19 patients should be given anti-aging drugs to make their immune systems “younger” so they can fight the virus faster—before it wreaks havoc on their lungs and other organs.”

The following is a summary of Dr Sinclair’s research article:

  • The severity and outcome of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) largely depends on a patient’s age.
  • Over 80% of hospitalizations are those over 65 years of age with a greater than 23-fold greater risk of death. In the clinic, COVID-19 patients most commonly present with fever, cough and dyspnea.
  • Particularly in those over 65, it can progress to pneumonia, lung consolidation, cytokine release syndrome, multiple organ failure and death.
  • Comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension increase the chances of fatal disease, but they alone do not explain the variability in COVID-19 symptoms.
  • One in two fatal cases of COVID-19 experience a cytokine storm, 82% of whom are over the age of 60.
  • Though there may be many simultaneous triggers of the storm, abundant evidence indicates that inflammaging is a major driver, exacerbated by obesity, poor diets and oral health, and sedentary lifestyles.
  • A central player that could help explain a predisposition to cytokine storms is NLRP3, the major protein component of the inflammasome (intracellular proteins that are part of the immune response and are responsible for the activation of inflammatory responses).
  • The control of NLRP3 activity is under the direct control of SIRT2, an enzyme that depends on NAD.
  • NAD is essential for cellular energy production (ATP), healthy immunity, DNA repair and much more
  • At middle age, NAD levels decline which creates vulnerability to many disease processes, including Covid complications.
  • NAD therapy will strengthen the immune system of the elderly and help to prevent Covid complications as well as other features of aging.

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