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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine