Auto-antibodies may explain why some people develop severe COVID-19

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic may lead to severe illness in some people, particularly those belonging to high-risk groups. However, the exact disease mechanism is still unclear. It is widely thought that the individual’s immune system determines the response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, whether it be severe, mild, or even asymptomatic.

Now, a new study by an international team of health experts shows that some life-threatening cases of COVID-19 can be traced to specific weak spots in the patients’ immune system.

The study, published in the journal Science, may explain the erratic effects of the illness to people across the globe.

Study: Auto-antibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock

Global effort

The research team started gathering data and enrolling patients with COVID-19 in the study in February. During that time, the researchers looked for young people with severe COVID-19 to determine whether these patients might have underlying weaknesses in their immune systems that

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