Some people who become infected with the coronavirus hardly notice it. Others become seriously ill and have to be treated as inpatients. About the Risk factors Even today – a year after the global outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic – there is still no absolute clarity. Erlangen researchers now have references to one Biomarker discovered, of the predict severe disease progression and perhaps even enable therapy.
One thing is certain so far: Older people have a higher chance of getting seriously ill with Covid-19. Other factors, such as smoking, increase the risk of serious illness. Obesity can also lead to severe problems. However, there is still no agreement on the mechanisms that increase the risk of severe corona disease. And again and again people get seriously ill who actually don’t belong to any risk group.
Protein concentration indicates the course of the corona
Two physicians from Erlangen – Dr. Georg Weber, deputy clinic director and senior physician at the surgical clinic of the University Clinic Erlangen, and Dr. Alan Bénard, employee at the surgical clinic – are now fueling hope for an improved identification of difficult courses. The rapy is even possible.
Together with other researchers from the “Cellular Immunity in Inflammation and Cancer” working group at Erlangen University Hospital, the two of them have an important issue Leading indicator discovered whether the viral infection will be mild or severe: the Immunbotenstoff Interleukin-3. The results of the study appear in the journal “Nature Communications”.
Interleukin-3 is a Proteinwhich the stimulates the human immune system. It stimulates the blood formation process and is therefore used, for example, after bone marrow transplants, in general anemia or after chemotherapy to promote blood formation.
Weber and Bénard have now shown in a study that a low interleukin-3 levels in the blood plasma often with a severe course of Covid-19 disease goes hand in hand. Interleukin-3 plays a major role in organizing the body’s immune response. It stimulates the cells there to produce the protein CXCL12 at the site of an inflammation – for example pneumonia triggered by SARS-Cov-2.
“This protein communicates with the plasmacytoid dendritic cells – non-specific immune cells that normally circulate in the bloodstream. CXCL12 ‘lures’ them into the inflamed lungs, so to speak, where they curb the replication of the causing viruses, ”explains Dr. Weber. In other words: Interleukin-3 significantly improves the body’s immune defense indirectly and focuses it.
The interleukin-3 level can provide an important clue for a severe course. Up to now, this assessment could only be based on far more coarse criteria – such as age or certain previous illnesses. “But people who do not belong to any risk group can also have little interleukin-3 in their blood. With these, a difficult course has come as a surprise up to now and adequate medical care may be too late, ”says Dr. Weber to consider.
Now, based on the study results, important decisions about the treatment of Covid-19 patients could be made at an earlier point in time. Even more: in perspective it is also conceivable to develop immunotherapy, in which interleukin-3 is used in the form of an inhalant in order to precisely protect the lungs from being infected by viruses.
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ill corona Erlangen researchers discover risk factor