Even though the prospect may sound good a vaccine to stop you getting fat may be on its way after scientists found compelling evidence which links obesity to an infectious virus.
The virus called ‘Adenovirus-36’ is found 4 times more among obese people than in patients with a healthy weight.
According to the studies on animals, the virus is responsible for adding up to 15% of body weight. That’s about 21 pounds for the average U.S. woman or 28 pounds for a man.
The finding comes after clinical obesity has spiraled to a record-breaking 27% of the population, and further 36% are overweight.
The virus does not only irritate fat cells and causes them to become inflamed, but it also prevents them from dying and being “flushed away” by the human’s body. The fat cells then accumulate, which leads to obesity.
Samples of healthy tissue from 80 women with breast cancer were used in the study. Four of five women that were overweight had the virus against only one in five who were a normal weight.
The link could be the result of the cancer making the infection more likely, however, earlier research shows that monkeys injected with the virus gained weight. In another study, more than 30% of obese people were found to have the virus.
Adenoviruses are linked to colds and eye infections, and they are already proven to cause mice and monkeys to put on weight.
Dr. Wilmore Webley, of the University of Massachusetts, says that a vaccine for adenoviruses is already used by the US Army, which means that a vaccine for the obesity virus could soon be developed.
A vaccine for the virus has been already patented by Dr. Richard Atkinson of the University of Wisconsin but he has been unable to attract enough funding to make it commercial.
According to him, the vaccine could be given to young people to protect them from getting the virus and to stop the fat cells accumulating. This vaccine could save thousands of lives, as millions of people around the world are dying from obesity-related diseases each year.
However, obesity expert Professor Nick Finer of University College London does not agree and he thinks that more studies are needed to prove the link between the virus and weight gain.