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Ageing Res Rev ; 62: 101091, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-343168


Fighting the current COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget to prepare for the next. Since elderly and frail people are at high risk, we wish to predict their vulnerability, and intervene if possible. For example, it would take little effort to take additional swabs or dried blood spots. Such minimally-invasive sampling, exemplified here during screening for potential COVID-19 infection, can yield the data to discover biomarkers to better handle this and the next respiratory disease pandemic. Longitudinal outcome data can then be combined with other epidemics and old-age health data, to discover the best biomarkers to predict (i) coping with infection & inflammation and thus hospitalization or intensive care, (ii) long-term health challenges, e.g. deterioration of lung function after intensive care, and (iii) treatment & vaccination response. Further, there are universal triggers of old-age morbidity & mortality, and the elimination of senescent cells improved health in pilot studies in idiopathic lung fibrosis & osteoarthritis patients alike. Biomarker studies are needed to test the hypothesis that resilience of the elderly during a pandemic can be improved by countering chronic inflammation and/or removing senescent cells. Our review suggests that more samples should be taken and saved systematically, following minimum standards, and data be made available, to maximize healthspan & minimize frailty, leading to savings in health care, gains in quality of life, and preparing us better for the next pandemic, all at the same time.

Aging/immunology , Biomarkers , Coronavirus Infections , Inflammation/diagnosis , Mass Screening/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Aged , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Frailty , Humans , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2