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MINI-REVIEW: What Can We Learn about Aging and COVID-19 by Studying Mortality?

L. A. Gavrilov1,2,a* and N. S. Gavrilova1,2

1Academic Research Centers, NORC at the University of Chicago, 60637 Chicago, IL, USA

2Institute for Demographic Research, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 109028 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received July 09, 2020; Revised August 22, 2020; Accepted August 23, 2020
Promising ideas and directions for further research into biology of aging are discussed using analysis of the age-related kinetics of organisms’ mortality. It is shown that the traditional evolutionary theory explaining aging by decreasing force of natural selection with age is not consistent with the data on age-related mortality kinetics. The hypothesis of multistage destruction of organisms with age, including the rate-limiting stage of transition to a state of non-specific vulnerability (“non-survivor”), is discussed. It is found that the effect of the COVID-19 coronavirus infection on mortality is not additive (as it was the case with the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918), but multiplicative (proportional) for ages over 65 years.
KEY WORDS: aging, mortality, COVID-19, non-survivor, mortality kinetics

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297920120032