Preprint Hypothesis Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Susceptibility of the Elderly to SARS-CoV-2 Infection: ACE-2 Overexpression, Shedding and Antibody-dependent Enhancement (ADE)

Version 1 : Received: 25 March 2020 / Approved: 27 March 2020 / Online: 27 March 2020 (02:48:01 CET)

How to cite: Schatzmann Peron, J.P.; Nakaya, H. Susceptibility of the Elderly to SARS-CoV-2 Infection: ACE-2 Overexpression, Shedding and Antibody-dependent Enhancement (ADE). Preprints 2020, 2020030400 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0400.v1). Schatzmann Peron, J.P.; Nakaya, H. Susceptibility of the Elderly to SARS-CoV-2 Infection: ACE-2 Overexpression, Shedding and Antibody-dependent Enhancement (ADE). Preprints 2020, 2020030400 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0400.v1).

Abstract

The world is currently going through a serious pandemic of viral infection with SARS-CoV-2, a new isolate of coronavirus, resembling and surpassing the crisis that occurred in 2002 and 2013 with SARS and MERS, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 has currently infected more than 142,000 people, causing 5,000 deaths and reaching more than 130 countries worldwide. The very large spreading capacity of the virus clearly demonstrates the potential threat of respiratory viruses to human health, alarming governments around the world that preventive health policies and scientific research are pivotal to overcoming the crisis. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes flu-like symptoms in most cases. However, approximately 15% of patients will need hospitalization, and 5% require assisted ventilation, depending on the cohorts studied. What is intriguing, however, is the higher susceptibility of elderly individuals, especially those who are more than 60 years old and have comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, the death rate in this group may be up to 10-12%. Interestingly, children are somehow protected and not included as a risk group.Thus, here, we discuss some possibilities of molecular and cellular mechanisms by which elderly subjects may be more susceptible to severe COVID-19. In this sense, we raise two main points: i) increased ACE-2 expression in pulmonary and heart tissue of chronic angiotensin 1 receptor (AT1R) blocker users and hypertensive individuals and ii) antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) after previous exposure to other circulating coronaviruses. We believe these are pivotal points for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 and must be addressed with attention by physicians and scientists in the field.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; ACE-2

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