A new study on the crown wants to prove it: Covid-19 turns the immune system against your body


  • Juliane Gutmann

    fromJuliane Gutmann


Why do some people have to go to hospital for coronavirus infection and why does it express itself as a mild cold for others? Researchers find a possible answer.

  • In the fall of 2020, many countries are seeing an increase in Covid 19 cases. Concern: Coronavirus infection causes severe symptoms in some patients *.
  • But for many, the disease is relatively easy. After flu-like symptoms lasting a few days, many patients report recovering.
  • But how is it that Covid-19 is harmless to some people and others need to be ventilated? A new study has come to the bottom of this question.

When coronaviruses enter the body, the body initiates an immune response which results in the production of antibodies. Ideally, viruses are rendered harmless within a short period of time. But this is not always successful. In the case of severe Covid-19 cycles, doctors have observed so-called cytokine storms *: a dangerous overreaction of the body’s own defenses. And the so-called self-reactive antibodies also worry medical professionals because they are directed against the body’s tissues. In previous studies, such harmful proteins have been found in blood clots in severe cases of Covid-19 in the intensive care unit. Matthew Woodruff, a professor at the Center for Human Immunology at Emory University in the United States, not only took a closer look at the development of Covid-19 antibodies, but also looked at the role of antibodies directed against healthy and endogenous tissue. .

The researchers also detected such autoantibodies in seriously ill Covid 19 patients, which raises the question: could one Autoimmune reaction – how does it start with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis – be the reason for severe corona disease courses?

read also: This happens with a coronavirus infection in the body.

Autoimmune reaction as a trigger for severe corona cycles?

Woodruff and his team conclude from their recently published study: Serious Covid-19 infections are associated with the production of autoantibodies. For their study, the researchers analyzed data from 52 Covid-19 patients who were to be treated in the intensive care unit, none of the patients suffering or suffering from an autoimmune disease. Even so, more than half of the 52 patients tested positive for autoantibodies. According to the portal Sciencealert.com, in patients with the highest levels of c-reactive protein in their blood (a marker of inflammation), more than two-thirds showed signs that their immune systems were producing antibodies that attack their own tissues. “It is important that we believe that the self-reactive reactions we have identified here are specific to Sars-CoV-2 infection,” said Sciencealert.com’s Woodruff. However, the researchers cannot deduce from their study to what extent the autoantibodies actually affect the severity of symptoms. It could be that a severe viral disease generally leads to the production of autoantibodies without this having any consequences. Further studies need to be carried out to determine whether treating more severe Covid-19 cycles with dexamethasone (an immunosuppressant used to suppress autoimmune diseases) could be effective. (jg) *Merkur.de is part of the national network of Ippen-Digital publishers.

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Heading picture: © Marijan Murat / dpa

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