pte20210915002 Medicine / Wellness, Research / Development
Blood samples from corona patients examined – attacks on one’s own body detected
Blood samples for analysis before transport to the laboratory (Photo: Master Tux / pixabay.de)
Harvard / Marburg (pte002 / 09/15/2021 / 06:05) – After Irish doctors have linked the Long-COVID syndrome with increased blood coagulation values (press release reported: http://pte.com/news/20210818004), a international research team now has a second suspected case. In seriously ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients, autoantibodies were found much more frequently than in non-infected people.
No end to recovery
“If you get so sick with corona that you have to go to the hospital, you will not be off the hook even after you are discharged,” warns Paul J. Utz, immunologist and rheumatologist at Stanford Medicine http://med.stanford.edu , the clinic at Stanford University in California. The Utz team includes Chrysanthi Skevaki, lecturer in virology and laboratory medicine at the Philipps University of Marburg http://uni-marburg.de.
The scientists examined autoantibodies in blood samples taken from 147 COVID-19 patients in three university-related hospitals in March and April 2020; and in samples from 48 healthy patients who formed the control group. They also looked for antibodies that attack the corona virus or cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that regulate the growth and differentiation of cells.
Anticytokine antibodies were found in more than 60 percent of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to only 15 percent in the control group. According to the researchers, the cause could be an overreaction of the immune system triggered by a virulent, persistent infection. This in turn could mean that the cytokines no longer do their job.
Blood samples were available from around 50 patients and were drawn on different days, including the day they first came to the hospital. This enabled the researchers to follow the development of the autoantibodies. “Within a week of checking in at the hospital, around 20 percent of these patients had developed antibodies against their own tissue that were not there on the day they were admitted,” says Utz. “In many cases it was similar to what you see with a diagnosed autoimmune disease.” The result, like that of Irish doctors, could help develop drugs against Long-COVID.