Webcast - Obesity and fatty liver disease

This episode of EASL’s webcast series on COVID-19 and the liver examines the impact of the virus on patients with obesity and fatty liver disease. The panel of experts comprises Professor Sven Francque, Professor Nalu Navarro-Alvarez, Professor Luca Busetto and Professor Carolyn Bramante. Professor Busetto begins by reviewing prevalence data on COVID-19 in people with obesity or metabolic syndrome, drawing from Italian and global experiences, and describes the biological mechanisms behind increased COVID-19 severity in these populations. Professor Bramante reports on research linking fatty liver disease with severe COVID-19 and the potential for some medications to be protective against hospitalization in these patients. Professor Navarro-Alvarez describes the mechanisms behind the elevated risk of COVID-19 and the impact of metabolic syndrome. The panel addresses several aspects including the importance of visceral adiposity and systemic inflammation.


Learning objectives:

  • Learn about the prevalence of COVID-19 in people with obesity or fatty liver disease
  • Understand the mechanisms behind the elevated risk of COVID-19 and the impact of metabolic syndrome
  • Learn about medications that might prevent hospitalization of patient with fatty liver disease and severe COVID-19
  • Learn how the visceral adiposity and systemic inflammation impact COVID-19 severity


Target audience:

  • Hepatologists
  • General practitioners
  • Health care professionals
  • Clinical researchers and scientists

If you wish to obtain a certificate of completion for this webcast, please click here.



Sven Francque

Sven Francque is Chair of the Department of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Antwerp University Hospital and senior full professor of medicine at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He has long-standing expertise in NAFLD and has conducted basic research focusing on the vascular changes in steatosis and their contribution to disease progression. Professor Francque’s research unit continues to study pathophysiological mechanisms of NASH. The unit has also conducted clinical research since the early days of NASH clinical trials, and partners several research consortia supported by the EU and IMI. Professor Francque is a scientific committee member involved in the design of several Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials and is national and international lead Principal Investigator of several trials.

Luca Busetto

Luca Busetto is an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Padova, Italy. He is also part of the clinical activity team at the Center for the Study and the Integrated Management of Obesity at Padova University Hospital. Professor Busetto is a member of several editorial boards, including: Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (associate editor), Obesity Surgery (associate editor), Eating and Weight Disorders, the Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, and Nutrients. He is the Co-chair of the Obesity Management Task Force of the European Association for the Study of Obesity and President-elect of the Italian Obesity Society.

Carolyn Bramante

Carolyn Bramante is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, MN, USA. Her clinical and research interests centre around obesity treatment for children and adults and she researches ways to assist daily behaviour change at home, as well as other weight management interventions. In addition to focusing on lifestyle changes, Dr Bramante prescribes weight loss medications to help patients achieve their healthy weight goals by addressing the dysregulated pathways in the brain and digestive system that lead to excess weight. Dr Bramante also researches risks related to obesity and COVID-19, as well as prospective treatments of COVID-19 and long-COVID.

Nalu Navarro-Alvarez

Nalu Navarro-Alvarez has worked as a researcher in medical sciences at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition in Mexico City, Mexico since 2017. She is also an assistant professor at Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, CO, USA. Professor Navarro-Alvarez’s research focus is on chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure, alternative therapies to treat them (including hepatocyte transplantation, liver regeneration and xenotransplantation), and COVID-19 and the mechanism of liver damage.