Why are some Covid-19 cases more severe than others? A new study has uncovered deviations and lapses in the immune system that appear to spell the difference between severe and mild cases of Covid-19.
The difference, the study suggests, may stem from how our evolutionarily ancient innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that cases Covid-19. The innate immune system rapidly senses pathogens, and immediately launches a somewhat indiscriminate attack on them. It also mobilises precisely targeted, but slower “sharp-shooter” cells from the adaptive immune system (which is different from the innate immune system).
“These findings reveal how the immune system goes awry during coronavirus infections, leading to severe disease, and point to potential therapeutic targets,” senior author Bali Pulendran of Stanford Medicine said in a statement. The study is published in Science.
The researchers analysed the immune response in 76 people with Covid-19 and in 69 health people. They found enhanced levels of molecules that promote inflammation in the blood of severely ill patients. Three of these molecules are known to be associated with lung inflammation in other diseases, but had not been shown previously in Covid-19 infections.
Source: Stanford Medicine News Center
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