Scientists find a new risk factor for severe COVID-19

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In a new study from the University of Kent, researchers found a protein that may critically contribute to severe forms of COVID-19.

SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. While many individuals develop only mild or no symptoms upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, others develop severe, life-threatening disease.

Researchers have found that the infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2 results in increased levels of a protein called CD47 on the cell surface.

CD47 is a so-called ‘do not eat me’ signal to the immune system’s defenses that protect cells from being destroyed.

Virus-induced CD47 on the surface of infected cells is likely to protect them from immune system recognition, enabling the production of larger amounts of virus, resulting in more severe disease.

Well-known risk factors for severe COVID-19 such as older age and diabetes are associated with higher CD47 levels.

High CD47 levels also contribute to high blood pressure, which is a large risk factor for COVID-19 complications such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

In the study, the results suggest that age and virus-induced high CD47 levels contribute to severe COVID-19 by preventing an effective immune response and increasing disease-associated tissue and organ damage.

Since therapeutics targeting CD47 are in development, this discovery may result in improved COVID-19 therapies.

The team says they may have identified a major factor associated with severe COVID-19. This is a huge step in combatting the disease and they can now look forward to further progress in the design of therapeutics.

If you care about COVID-19, please read studies about the cause of COVID-19 lung damage and findings of these drugs may reduce death risk and time in ICU in people with severe COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about your immune system mounts a lasting defense after recovery from COVID-19 and results showing that this common drug may reduce death risk in severe COVID-19.

The study is published in Current Issues in Molecular Biology. One author of the study is Professor Martin Michaelis.

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