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Why are some cases of Covid-19 more serious than others?

A new study has found immune system deviations and failures that appear to be the difference between severe and mild cases of Covid-19. The difference, the study suggests, may be due to how our evolving old innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

  • The innate immune system quickly detects pathogens and immediately launches a somewhat indiscriminate attack against them.
  • It also mobilizes the “trigger” cells of the adaptive immune system (which is different from the innate immune system), which are precisely targeted but more slowly.

“These findings reveal how the immune system fails during coronavirus infections, leading to serious illness, and point to potential therapeutic targets,”

Stanford Medicine lead author Bali Pulendran said in a statement. The study is published in Science.
  • The researchers analyzed the immune responses of 76 people with Covid-19 and 69 healthy people.
  • They found improved levels of molecules that promote inflammation in the blood of critically ill patients.
  • Three of these molecules are known to be associated with lung inflammation in other diseases, but they had not previously been demonstrated in Covid-19 infections.
  • The researchers analyzed the immune responses of 76 people with Covid-19 and 69 healthy people.
  • They found improved levels of molecules that promote inflammation in the blood of critically ill patients.
  • Three of these molecules are known to be associated with lung inflammation in other diseases, but they had not previously been shown in Covid-19 infections.
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