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Stanford Medicine study: SARS-CoV-2 infects fat tissue, creates inflammatory storm cloud

• Stanford Medicine

September 22, 2022 - By Bruce Goldman

Is SARS-CoV-2 hiding in your fat cells?

A study by Stanford Medicine investigators shows that SARS-CoV-2 can infect human fat tissue. This phenomenon was seen in laboratory experiments conducted on fat tissue excised from patients undergoing bariatric and cardiac surgeries, and later infected in a laboratory dish with SARS-CoV-2. It was further confirmed in autopsy samples from deceased COVID-19 patients.

Obesity is an established, independent risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as for the patients' progression, once infected, to severe disease and death. Reasons offered for this increased vulnerability range from impaired breathing resulting from the pressure of extra weight to altered immune responsiveness in obese people.