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Autoantibodies can explain severe Covid-19 cases

Posted by LIZ DAVENPORT

Since the emergence of SARS-Cov-2, there has been much research aimed at finding out how the infection caused by it occurs, so that, in addition to prevention, we have an effective treatment. Thus, a new study, published on January 29, states that the new coronavirus can trigger an autoimmune reaction. This may explain why many signs and symptoms remain after the virus is cleared from the body.

The reason for the study was due to the fact that patients with Covid-19 had signs and symptoms (fatigue, myalgia, cerebral edema) indicative of autoimmune diseases. So, apparently, SARS-Cov-2 triggers a permanent attack on tissues, even after the patient has cleared the virus. That’s what they call Extended Covid-19.

Researchers believe that autoimmunity may explain why adults and children develop Severe Inflammatory Syndromes after the infection. Thus, the research analyzed data from more than 300 patients located in four hospitals (two in California, one in Pennsylvania and one in Germany). She used as an object of study the serological tests of patients to assess the body’s immune response during infectious manifestations of the virus.

For this, they searched for autoantibodies (glycoproteins responsible for attacking the organism itself) in people with a positive diagnosis for the coronavirus, in order to compare them with glycoproteins from uninfected people. Then, they found that 50% of those infected had autoantibodies, unlike uninfected individuals, of which only 15% did.

Individuals with autoantibodies did not have a significant change in levels during the infection. So, this suggests that they are present from the first signs and symptoms, resulting in an uncontrolled infection by the organism. This is because the body will go into a process of self-sabotage, making it difficult for the patient to recover.

In 20% of the study population, autoantibody levels increased along with the evolution of Covid-19. Thus suggesting a direct relationship between the two factors. Therefore, scientists could observe that these antibodies directly attack the best “weapons” of the immune system, such as interferons. Their function is to interfere with virus replication.

Thus, some other analyzes show that people with the ability to produce these autoantibodies and those who have genes responsible for reducing the functionality of interferons, are more likely to progress to the potentially fatal disease.

Furthermore, given this discovery, the authors of the research state that it is important to study what exactly these autoantibodies are active in Covid-19, as this could result in a treatment for the disease. Since, if the identification is done in advance, it will be possible to treat with immunosuppressants. In addition, an autoimmune response against muscle and connective tissue can still be observed, a phenomenon frequently observed in rare diseases.

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