Scientists from the University of Michigan found a connection between destructive white blood cells and a more severe disease course in patients with COVID-19.
The research is published in JCI Insight and was conducted by Yu (Ray) Zuo et al.
In the study, the team analyzed blood samples from 50 patients with COVID-19.
They found that patients with COVID-19 infection have higher blood levels of neutrophil extracellular traps, also called NETs, which are a product of an inflammatory type of neutrophil cell death called NETosis.
NETs were first described as a form of innate response against pathogen invasion, which can capture pathogens, degrade bacterial toxic factors, and kill bacteria.
In severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), viral pneumonia progresses to respiratory failure.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular webs of chromatin, microbicidal proteins, and oxidant enzymes that are released by neutrophils to contain infections.
The team says in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very important to understand the causes of the inflammatory storm and blood clots triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection.
This is a storm that leads to respiratory failure and a requirement for mechanical ventilation in many patients.
The researchers believe NETs are relevant to many aspects of COVID-19, given that thrombosis and inflammation are hallmarks of severe infection.
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