Tuesday, 6 October 2020

COVID-19 and the immune system

 


Researchers from the US and China have found that COVID-19 can destroy T cells, a type of lymphocyte that plays a key role in the body’s immune system in a similar way to HIV, writes Annie Lennon.

T lymphocytes, also known as T cells, are key for identifying and eliminating pathogens in the body. They work by finding a cell infected by a pathogen, in this case the virus behind COVID-19, poking a hole in its membrane, and injecting it with toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals then kill both the virus and the cell.

Now, a team of researchers from Shanghai and New York found that a unique structure in the virus’ spike protein fuses the virus and T cell together when they come into contact. This allows the virus to enter the T cell and essentially take over its behaviour, switching off its normal pathogen-fighting functions.

 

This finding comes after a clinical report released by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Institute of Immunology in February stating that T cell number could significantly drop in patients with COVID-19. This was especially the case for those who were elderly or requiring intensive care treatment. They then correlated lower counts of T cells with a higher mortality risk.

See: https://www.labroots.com/trending/immunology/17341/covid-19-attack-immune-systems-hiv

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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