Many ‘flavours’ of Covid-19: Study finds multiple immune responses to coronavirus
An understanding of molecular mechanisms in Covid-19 patients can help design tailor-made therapies, experts noted.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 12:53 IST
A latest study has found that the Covid-19 has many “flavours”. The molecular study has arrived at findings that may allow targetting specific molecular changes in coronavirus patients for treatment in the future.
The researchers found at least five different types of immune response against coronavirus - not just “mild” and “severe,” news agency Reuters reported.
A team of experts set out to explore what makes the virus affect some people more severely than the others. For the purpose, patients’ “blood transcriptome” was studied which is the complete set of genes that are activated in immune cells in the blood.
“In other words, there are different flavours of the disease,” just as there are different types of cancer, study co-author Dr Joachim Schultze of the University of Bonn told Reuters.
An understanding of molecular mechanisms in Covid-19 patients can help design tailor-made therapies, Schultze said, adding that it could also help predict which drugs would likely benefit the patients.
The experts cited steroid dexamethasone as “prominent” candidate in the fight against Covid-19 which has already shown promise in some coronavirus patients and pointed to the “surprising” discovery involving granulocytes - a type of white blood cell.
“Granulocytes, cells that are not really known to be major players in the fight against viruses, play a major role in severe Covid-19 disease,” Schultze said. The new findings “will help us to find better therapies and also will guide vaccine development,” he added.
Another study suggested the role of a patient’s immune response in Covid-19 death.
The study, an excerpt of which was published in science journal, ‘Nature’, suggested that immune responses, rather than the virus itself, are responsible for death in Covid-19 patients.
“Numerous studies have suggested that the immune system contributes to the organ damage seen in some severe cases of Covid-19,” the paper read.
Covid-19 has infected over 12 million people across the globe while more than 5 lakh people have succumbed to death globally. Over 7 million people have recovered from the deadly contagion worldwide.
(With inputs from Reuters)