The role of leptin in mediating the response to COVID vaccination in severely obese people

Study code

Lead researcher
Sadaf Farooqi

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Cambridge University Hospitals

Researcher type

Speciality area
Infection, COVID


Obesity is a major risk factor for severe COVID-19. We think that a weak immune system is part of the explanation for this. If that is true, then the response to SARS-CoV2 vaccination may also be impaired in obese people.

Leptin is a hormone that regulates weight and also influences the immune system. In the past we have shown that people who completely lack leptin because of a genetic condition, develop severe obesity and impaired immunity.

In this study, we want to investigate whether leptin regulates the immune response to the vaccine for COVID-19 in people with severe obesity. We will address this question by studying:

a) people with severe obesity due to genetic disorders that disrupt how leptin works,

b) people with severe obesity and low levels of leptin,

c) people with severe obesity and normal levels of leptin.

We will measure several aspects of the immune response before and at several time-points after vaccination.

Participation: For this study, 27 participants from the COVID-19 BioResource took part by providing a small blood sample and completing a health & lifestyle questionnaire.

Organisation: This study is organised by Professor Sadaf Farooqi and Dr James Thaventhiran from the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.