Telomere length in COVID-19: Biological aging and susceptibility to severe disease


COVID-19 is are characterized by acute lung inflammatory disease and a strong systemic inflammatory response, termed “cytokine storm” that partially resembles other situations such as macrophage activation and autoinflammatory syndromes or CART therapy. The project investigates on the hypothesis that biological ageing and TS may be mechanistically linked to hyperinflammatory responses, and propose to investigate telomere shortening (TS) as a risk fator for severe disease and for long-term morbidity after recovery from acute COVID-19 .   

Facts and Figures

Project Lead
J L Pablos
Hospital 12 de Octubre
FOREUM research grant: € 75.000

Meet the Team

J L Pablos
Hospital 12 de Octubre
M Galindo
Hospital 12 de Octubre
R Garcia
Hospital 12 de Octubre
E Paz
Hospital 12 de Octubre
R Perona
Hospital 12 de Octubre
L Sastre
Hospital 12 de Octubre


The objective of the project is to better understand the relationship between ageing, previous chronic diseases (vascular, hypertension, diabetes) and the severity of COVID-19, through the study of a well-known process associated with aging: telomere shortening (TS).

Patient Voice

Not immediate individual benefits expected. Future patients with COVID-19, or with future similar viral diseases could benefit.


  • Collection of 1st DNA sample from COVID biobank and TL determination.
  • Revision of clinical and lab variables from electronic records of the hospitalization and completion of database.
  • Analysis of correlations TL and clinical data and report.
  • Collection of 2nd DNA sample where available along follow-up.
  • Analysis of basal/follow-up TL changes in a subset of patients with available samples.
  • Analysis of correlations of TL with clinical evolution at 18 months and report.