Tuesday, 04 January 2022 12:53

Severe covid progression due to upgraded T cells Featured

German researchers have found a particularly active form of immune cells in patients suffering from severe COVID-19. The so-called CD16-positive T cells have an increased cytotoxic effect, among other things on the inner cell layer of blood vessels. This could explain the severe courses of Covid-19.

The research team from the Berlin Institute of Health at the Charité (BIH), the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin as well as from the University Hospitals in Bonn and Aachen examined the blood of COVID-19 patients with mild or severe progression using single-cell analysis and compared the results with those of healthy volunteers and patient blood with other viral infections.

They found T cells in the people severely affected by COVID-19 that carried the molecule CD16 on their surface. CD16 normally helps cells of the innate immune system recognize and kill virus-infected body cells. In contrast, T cells normally recognize virus-infected cells via their T cell receptor. Using the mechanism now discovered, these T cells are able to fight not only specifically virus-infected cells, but also healthy vascular cells.

Original publication:
Georg, P., Astaburuaga-Garcia, R., Bonaguro, L., et al: (2021). Complement activation induces excessive T cell cytotoxicity in severe COVID-19. Cell,
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.12.040

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