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2. Does Covid-19 trigger Epigenetic Ageing?

Postscript from 15.08.2022

Dr. Gwen Bingle
August 17, 2022

We already discussed the topic of "Covid and ageing" here.

A new longitudinal American study from data provided by TruDiagnostic, published in frontiers in Genetics in early June, unveils surprising results. It reinforces the suspicion that surviving Covid-19 as well as the administration of an mRNA vaccination can have a (mostly temporary) impact on epigenetic age – in both directions. Here, different groups of subjects were tested before and after suffering Covid-19 as well as before and after an mRNA vaccination using different epigenetic clocks. In both cases, a chronological age of plus or minus 50 appears to be a significant watershed, with contrasting results: surviving Covid-19 seemed to have a rejuvenating effect on some under-50 participants – through an activation of the immune response or through so-called hormesis (a compensation effect after stimulation by relatively mild stressors that can promote general health). In contrast, some over-50 subjects markedly aged – usually depending on the severity of the disease. Here, the illness caused inflammatory processes that correlate with ageing in general. Similarly distorted but mostly reversed results seemed to have been catalysed by an mRNA vaccination depending, however, on the product used or, possibly, the posology. From a statistical perspective, further studies should be conducted due to the short observation periods and the modest samples analysed, among other factors. Nevertheless, the results are striking enough and appear to demonstrate that the timing of epigenetic testing can have a rather serious (if not necessarily permanent) influence on the determination of biological age. For people who are having their biological age tested out of personal interest, this means that it may make sense to wait a few weeks or months after the illness or vaccination before testing so as not to distort the result.


Pang APS, Higgins-Chen AT, Comite F, Raica I, Arboleda C, Went H, Mendez T, Schotsaert M, Dwaraka V, Smith R, Levine ME, Ndhlovu LC, Corley MJ. Longitudinal Study of DNA Methylation and Epigenetic Clocks Prior to and Following Test-Confirmed COVID-19 and mRNA Vaccination. Front Genet. 2022 Jun 3;13:819749. (last accessed: 15.08.2022)

Picture: © cottonbro (last accessed: 17.08.2022)

Dr. Gwen Bingle
epiAge Deutschland Content & Customer Relations
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