The Severe COVID-19 Immune Response Pathway has been identified

The Severe COVID-19 Immune Response Pathway has been identified ...

Researchers at Yale have identified a specific immune response technique that can result in severe illness and death in individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

In the journal Nature, the study was published on April 28.

Researchers have discovered that once the COVID-19 virus infects the lungs, it may trigger a cytokine storm or an overactive immune response that leads to deadly inflammation in the lungs. For the second time, a Yale team led by Esen Sefik, who is currently working on a senior author, explored the implications of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice that were engineered to have a human immune system.

Inflammasomes, part of the immune systems early warning system, produce and release cytokines which make these immune cells suicide in an attempt to avoid infection. However, the cytokines also recruit even more inflammatory cells to the lungs, which causes a painful cycle.

The broadcast system works well, but in this case, the message is lethal, according to Flavell, Sterling''s professor of immunology and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Researchers rescued infected mice from pneumonia using the NLPR3 inflammasome pathway. Immun system cells were still infected with the inflammasome pathway. However, they were no longer inflammatory and therefore could not contribute to harmful levels of inflammation.

A key component of this treatment is that the cells no longer die and thus release more viruses. Nonetheless, a blockage of the inflammasome pathway as well as antiviral therapy might entail a way to treat COVID-19 pneumonia and prevent serious COVID-19 cases, according to researchers.

Although there are no approved medications that block the NLPR3 pathway, many pharmaceutical and biotech companies are developing them, according to Flavell.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has funded the research.

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