Some people who become infected with the coronavirus hardly notice anything. Others become seriously ill and should be treated as hospitalized patients. About the Risk factors Even today, a year after the global outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, there is still no absolute clarity. Researchers Erlangen now you have references Biomarker uncovered, from predict the severe progression of the disease and perhaps even enable therapy.
One thing is certain so far: older people are more likely to suffer from serious illnesses with Covid-19. Other factors, such as smoking, increase the risk of serious illness. Obesity can also cause serious problems. However, there is still no agreement on the mechanisms that increase the risk of severe crown disease. And time and time again people get seriously ill who don’t really belong to any risk group.
Protein concentration indicates the course of the crown
Two doctors from Erlangen – Dr. Georg Weber, deputy director of the clinic and senior physician at the surgical clinic of Erlangen University Hospital, and Dr. Alan Bénard, an employee of the surgical clinic, now fosters hope for better identification of difficult courses. Therapy is even possible.
Together with other researchers from the “Cellular Immunity in Inflammation and Cancer” working group at Erlangen University Hospital, they both have a major problem. Main indicator it was discovered whether the viral infection will be mild or severe: the Immunbotenstoff Interleukin-3. The results of the study appear in the journal Nature Communications.
Interleukin-3 is a Proteinthat the stimulates the human immune system. It stimulates the process of blood formation and is therefore used, for example, after bone marrow transplants, in general anemia or after chemotherapy to promote blood formation.
Weber and Bénard have now shown in a study that a low levels of interleukin-3 in the blood plasma often with a severe course of Covid-19 disease goes hand in hand. Interleukin-3 plays an important role in organizing the body’s immune response. It stimulates cells that produce the CXCL12 protein at the site of inflammation, for example SARS-Cov-2-triggered pneumonia.
Therapy also seems possible
“This protein communicates with plasmacytoid dendritic cells, non-specific immune cells that normally circulate in the bloodstream. “CXCL12” attracts “them to the inflamed lungs, so to speak, where they slow down the replication of the causative viruses,” explains Dr. Weber. Interleukin-3 significantly improves the body’s immune defenses indirectly and centers them.
Interleukin-3 level can provide an important clue for a severe course. Until now, this assessment could only be based on much more approximate criteria, such as age or certain previous illnesses. “But people who do not belong to any risk group may also have low interleukin-3 in their blood. With these, a difficult course has surprised so far and it is possible that adequate medical care will be too late, ”says Dr. Weber to keep in mind.
Now, based on the results of the study, important decisions could be made about the treatment of patients with Covid-19 at an earlier time. Even more: in perspective it is also conceivable to develop immunotherapy, in which interleukin-3 is used in the form of an inhalant to accurately protect the lungs from virus infection.