Variation in Immune System Observed in Severe COVID 19 Cases: Yale University

Published: July 28, 2020

The researchers from Yale University in the USA have come out with the conclusion that the immune system variation in the severe cases of COVID 19. It has been found how misfiring of the immune system in some patients during the treatment of the deadly disease may lead to severe consequences, including death.

This research is expected to help identify those patients at high risk of dying from the disease and also suggest drugs to them.

Research Methodology

The researchers from the university have examined 113 patients admitted to the Yale-New Haven Hospital and analyzed varying immune system responses they exhibited during their stay at the hospital, from admission to discharge or death. The live study threw various surprising instances of immune system malfunctions during the treatment.

The report of the study has been published in the journal Nature.

Salient findings of the Study

  • All patients shared a common COVID 19 ‘signature’ in immune system activity early in the course of the disease.
  • Those who experienced only moderate symptoms exhibited diminishing immune system responses and viral particle levels in their bodies over time.
  • The patients, who had severe cases, did not show any sign of a reduction in viral particle count in their body and their immune system also did not show any kind of reduced reaction.
  • Many of the immune signals in the patients including the molecules called cytokines were accelerated.
  • It could be detected in the early stage itself which patients were at greatest risk of developing severe forms of the illness.
  • One risk factor was the presence of an immune system molecule called alpha interferon-a cytokine mobilized to combat viral pathogens such as the flu virus. However, patients with this fared worse than the ones with very low levels of this.
  • Another early prognosticator of poor outcomes is the activation of a complex of proteins that detects pathogens and triggers an inflammatory response to an infection called the inflammasome. This could be linked to poor outcomes and also death in several patients.
  • The drugs that specifically target the causes of inflammation identified could help treat patients at risk of developing severe cases of COVID 19.

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