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Geroscience ; 43(3): 1093-1112, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499503


We are in the midst of the global pandemic. Though acute respiratory coronavirus (SARS-COV2) that leads to COVID-19 infects people of all ages, severe symptoms and mortality occur disproportionately in older adults. Geroscience interventions that target biological aging could decrease risk across multiple age-related diseases and improve outcomes in response to infectious disease. This offers hope for a new host-directed therapeutic approach that could (i) improve outcomes following exposure or shorten treatment regimens; (ii) reduce the chronic pathology associated with the infectious disease and subsequent comorbidity, frailty, and disability; and (iii) promote development of immunological memory that protects against relapse or improves response to vaccination. We review the possibility of this approach by examining available evidence in metformin: a generic drug with a proven safety record that will be used in a large-scale multicenter clinical trial. Though rigorous translational research and clinical trials are needed to test this empirically, metformin may improve host immune defenses and confer protection against long-term health consequences of infectious disease, age-related chronic diseases, and geriatric syndromes.

COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Metformin , Aged , Communicable Diseases/drug therapy , Humans , Metformin/therapeutic use , Multicenter Studies as Topic , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
Immunol Invest ; 50(7): 810-820, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172597


Older adults have diminished immune responses that lead to increased susceptibility and severity of infectious diseases. Influenza is a leading killer of older adults despite the availability of seasonal influenza vaccination. Influenza vaccines are strain specific, and their efficacy varies greatly year to year based on how well the vaccine virus matches the circulating strains. Additionally, older adults have reduced vaccination responses. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the increased mortality rate in older adults for infectious disease, and brought vaccine development to the forefront. The speed of vaccine development was met with an equally impressive vaccine efficacy. Interestingly, both mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines currently available have shown similar efficacy in both young and older adults. mRNA vaccine production has significantly reduced the production timeline compared to current influenza vaccines, making them particularly attractive for influenza vaccine development. Faster production coupled with improved efficacy would be a tremendous advancement in protecting older adults from influenza morbidity and mortality.

Influenza A virus/immunology , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Aged , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Humans , Influenza, Human/virology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Vaccination/methods