A new study from the University of California at San Francisco involved 21 patients: 11 with mild forms COVID-19-19, and 10 with heavy. Scientists focused on how the immunity of people from both groups fights the coronavirus. They analyzed how the main immune cells (leukocytes, lymphocytes) in the patients’ blood respond to infection.
It is known that interferons are secreted by the body in response to the “invasion” of the virus. They can independently suppress the penetration of viruses into cells and play a signaling role. In the second case, they transmit information about the virus to immune cells by acting on a specific gene (a gene stimulated by interferon, ISG). All study participants with mild COVID-19-19 this immune mechanism worked properly: ISG functioned.
During severe infection in the studied cells, the expression of this gene (the way the body reads it) was suppressed. Thus, the cages, which were supposed to respond to the virus, were insensitive to interferon signals.
The study authors found that patients with severe COVID-19-19 produce specific antibodies that suppress the production of cells in which ISG works fine. At the same time, their body synthesized more antibodies against coronavirus than with a mild illness.
Suppression of the immune response in severe cases COVID-19-19 needs to be studied better, scientists point out. It is possible that the impaired immune response may differ from patient to patient. The study authors report that some existing immunotherapy methods have the potential to influence these mechanisms.