This first webinar of the British Society for Immunology 'Connecting on coronavirus: the expert hub' series saw BSI President, Professor Arne Akbar discuss 'The impact of altered immunity during ageing on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection'.
A novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes severe respiratory disease (COVID-19) emerged in China in December 2019. While COVID-19 infection only induces mild to moderate symptoms in younger individuals, the viruses induces devastating morbidity and mortality in older subjects, especially males and those with other significant co‐morbidities. This raises the question how age-associated changes in the immune system interact are superimposed on the viral infection itself in induce this outcome in older individuals.
In this webinar, Professor Arne Akbar looked at the immune changes during ageing in the context of the currently available data on immune responses in COVID-19 patients to form a hypothesis on why this infection has its severe effect in older individuals. The crucial questions, from an immunology standpoint, that remain to be answered were discussed.