Through a blood test, specialists look for immune alterations
September 20, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
Members of medical staff, wearing protective suits and face masks, treat a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Laveran military hospital in Marseille, France, on September 18, 2020 REUTERS / Eric Gaillard
A simple blood test may be enough to understand the path that Covid-19 will follow in a person, thus identifying patients who are most at risk of developing severe forms of the disease.
This was demonstrated by the “Covid-Ip” study, carried out by an international team from King's College London and the Francis Crick Institute in London , with the participation of Francesca Di Rosa, from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology of the National Research Council of Rome, published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The researchers identified some immune alterations that could be exploited to identify, through a blood test, patients destined to become severe.
Infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be asymptomatic, or cause the disease called Covid-19, whose clinical manifestations are extremely heterogeneous: from a mild respiratory disease to a severe clinical picture, in some cases fatal. By analyzing the blood of patients, however, forecasts can be obtained about the path that the disease will follow.
A strong point of the study, Di Rosa explained, is “the use of a test to analyze in the blood the cell cycle of T lymphocytes, fundamental cells of the specific immune response.” “The test allowed us to identify some subtypes of proliferating T lymphocytes in the most seriously ill patients,” he added.
Otaviano Batista, 67, a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is helped by health workers as he leaves an ICU plane, which arrives from Tabatinga to Manaus, Brazil, on May 18, 2020. REUTERS / Bruno Kelly
These results open the way to a “better understanding of the functions of T lymphocytes in this disease. In particular, the alterations of the T lymphocytes could reflect the ability of the Sars-Cov-2 virus to control the immune response – he indicated – despite the fact that almost all patients have specific antibodies in the blood produced by B lymphocytes ”. In Covid-19, “the response of T lymphocytes seems deregulated,” added the Cnr-Ibpm researcher.
Another element connected with the severity of the clinical path, he explained, “is also the notable reduction in basophilic granulocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells.”
In addition, it was shown that the increase in the levels of a triad of specific molecules (chemokine IP-10, interleukin-10 and interleukin-6) is a premonitory sign of the worsening of the disease that is more understandable than those analyzed so far “.
The potential implications of this study, carried out on 63 inpatients with Covid-19 at Guy's and St Thomas Hospitals in London, seem interesting. “If confirmed in a higher number of patients, this information – concluded Di Rosa – could prove useful for prognostic purposes, allowing us to foresee which patients are most at risk of worsening and thus implement rapid and adequate measures.”
With information from ANSA