Distinct immune response identified in early phase of COVID-19 infection


Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), leads to a unique response from the human immune system, with a distinct pattern of immunological markers, unlike that of other viral respiratory diseases, present in patients’ blood, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

Due to an overreaction of the immune system, infection with SARS-CoV-2 can lead to a severe clinical course of disease, potentially including multiple organ failure. For the study, researchers used a cohort of outpatients who visited the University Hospital Vienna with typical symptoms of a viral respiratory infection.

Based on PCR test results, the patients were divided into a COVID-19 positive group and a COVID-19 negative group. The researchers additionally included a third comparison group of healthy subjects. All groups were tested for a total of 65 immune markers in blood plasma. This provided a detailed insight into the complex immunological processes of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The results of these investigations could provide starting points for future therapeutic approaches for COVID-19, the researchers said. Additionally, they said the findings could constitute important comparative parameters for further studies, for example on chronic forms of the disease such as long-COVID.

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