The presence of specific autoantibodies in the blood of patients treated with Covid-19, is closely linked to the risk of getting seriously ill, according to a new US scientific study. Autoantibodies in the body are proteins that, instead of defending themselves against bacteria and viruses, attack the patient's own cells and molecules.
A new simple blood test could help predict which people, when admitted to hospital, are more likely to have a serious Covid-19 and intubation. It could also show in advance who is sick with Covid-19, before reaching the point of admission to hospital, he needs closer monitoring, because he is more at risk of deteriorating his health in a few days. Although such an autoantibody test marker "catches" only a percentage of those who eventually become seriously ill, according to scientists, it would still be a useful help.
Researchers from New York University School of Medicine and Langone Health Medical Center, including Kimon Argyropoulos of Greek descent, studied 115 patients. Covid-19 in the hospital (half with severe Covid-19, while the other half with lighter) and published in the journal Life Science Alliance, detected autoantibodies in more than a third (36%) of patients. Particularly a type of autoantibody that binds to DNA or certain lipids in the body, is often almost double (increased by 86% and 93% respectively) at the beginning of coronavirus infection in those whose health deteriorates rapidly, relative to with those who are less seriously ill.
Patients with elevated levels of autoantibodies are five to seven times more likely to develop severe Covid-19, compared to those who do not have elevated autoantibodies after coronavirus infection. The former are more at risk of needing ICU and intubation, while the latter can breathe on their own and recover faster.
"Although further research is needed, our findings already show that a test to detect antibodies to DNA and a lipid (phosphatidyIserine) can help identify those patients with Covid-19 "who are admitted to the hospital and who are more at risk of needing an intensive care unit and closer monitoring," said researcher Dr. Marizol Zuniga.
Elevated levels of autoantibodies are also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and muscle tissue damage due to cell death, especially heart disease, complications that have been observed in the most severe cases. Covid-19. "Our observations show that in serious cases Covid-19 The production of autoimmune antibodies plays a key role in blood clotting and cell death. "Our study confirms that in this disease the wrong reaction of the immune system does more damage than the coronavirus infection itself", pointed out the professor of the Department of Microbiology 'Ana Rodriguez.
As he said, further experiments will be needed to determine whether autoantibodies are indeed the cause or consequence of thrombosis and cell death. If auto-antibodies are indeed "blamed," then new therapies will be sought that include antibody injections from healthy donors to reduce the level of self-destructive autoantibodies. Alternatively, biodegradable antigens that bind to and neutralize autoimmune antibodies may be tested.