A new research carried out by experts from the University of Queensland has revealed that being overweight could hamper the body's antibody response to Covid-19 infection.
The research report, however, noted that obesity will not impair antibody response if the person has taken the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We've previously shown that being overweight – not just being obese – increases the severity of SARS-CoV-2," said Marcus Tong, a researcher at the University of Queensland's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, who led the study.
He added: "But this work shows that being overweight creates an impaired antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection but not to vaccination."
During the study, researchers collected blood samples from people who had recovered from COVID-19 and not been reinfected during the study period, approximately 3 months and 13 months post-infection.
Researchers found that at 3 months post-infection, an elevated BMI was associated with reduced antibody levels.
"And at 13 months post-infection, an elevated BMI was associated with both reduced antibody activity and a reduced percentage of the relevant B cells, a type of cell that helps build these COVID-fighting antibodies," added Tong.
On the other hand, an elevated BMI had no effect on the antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination at approximately 6 months after the second vaccine was administered, said the researchers in the press statement.
Kirsty Short, an associate professor at the University of Queensland said that the study results could help shape health policy moving forward.
"If infection is associated with an increased risk of severe disease and an impaired immune response for the overweight, this group has a potentially increased risk of reinfection. Finally, the data provides an added impetus to improve SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in low-income countries, where there's a high percentage of people who are overweight and are dependent on infection-induced immunity," she added.