Udayavni Special

Early antiviral response in nose may determine severity of COVID-19: Study

PTI, Jul 26, 2021, 12:29 PM IST

Boston: The course of severe COVID-19 may be determined by the body”s antiviral response to initial infection, according to a study which opens up new avenues for early drug interventions that could prevent severe disease.

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in the US analysed whether the path towards severe disease could start much earlier than expected — perhaps even within the initial response created when the virus enters the nose.

They studied cells taken from nasal swabs of patients at the time of their initial COVID-19 diagnosis, comparing patients who went on to develop mild COVID-19 to those who progressed into more severe disease and eventually required respiratory support.

The findings, published in the journal Cell, showed that patients who went on to develop severe COVID-19 exhibited a much more muted antiviral response in the cells collected from early swabs, compared to patients who had a mild course of disease.

“Our findings suggest that the course of severe COVID-19 may be determined by the body”s intrinsic antiviral response to initial infection, opening up new avenues for early interventions that could prevent severe disease,” said study co-senior author Jose Ordovas-Montanes, from Harvard Medical School.

To understand the early response to infection, the team collected nasal swabs from 58 people.

Thirty-five swabs came from COVID-19 patients, taken at the time of diagnosis, representing a variety of disease states from mild to severe.

Seventeen swabs came from healthy volunteers and six came from patients with respiratory failure due to other causes.

The team isolated individual cells from each sample and sequenced them, looking for RNA that would indicate what kind of proteins the cells were making — a proxy for understanding what a given cell is doing at the moment of collection.

Cells use RNA as instructions to make proteins — tools, machinery, and building blocks used within and by the cell to perform different functions and respond to its environment.

By studying the collection of RNA in a cell — its transcriptome — researchers understand how a cell is responding, at that particular moment in time, to environmental changes such as a viral infection.

Researchers can even use the transcriptome to see if individual cells are infected by an RNA virus like SARS-CoV-2.

First, the team found that the antiviral response, driven by a family of proteins called interferons, was much more muted in patients who went on to develop severe COVID-19.

Second, patients with severe COVID-19 had higher amounts of highly inflammatory macrophages, immune cells that contribute to high amounts of inflammation, often found in severe or fatal COVID-19.

Since these samples were taken well before COVID-19 had reached its peak state of disease in the patients, both these findings indicate that the course of COVID-19 may be determined by the initial or very early response of the nasal epithelial and immune cells to the virus.

The lack of strong initial antiviral response may allow the virus to spread more rapidly, increasing the chances that it can move from the upper to lower airways, while the recruitment of inflammatory immune cells could help drive the dangerous inflammation in severe disease.

The team also identified infected host cells and pathways associated with protection against infection — cells and responses unique to patients that went on to develop a mild disease.

These findings may allow researchers to discover new therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

Vaccine certification for travel must meet ‘minimum criteria’, says UK

Vaccine inequity comes into stark focus during UN gathering

OYO to file for up to USD 1.2 billion-IPO next week

Active COVID-19 cases lowest in 187 days

Teacher suspended for getting massage from parent who came to school seeking admission for her child

‘Unsafe practice’: BBMP warns people against modifications of balconies

Modi to interact with global CEOs to highlight opportunities in India

Related Articles More

847 new COVID-19 cases, 20 deaths in Karnataka

818 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths in Karnataka

Serum Institute of India to supply nearly 22 cr doses of Covishield vaccine to Centre in Oct

Kerala records 15,692 fresh COVID cases, 92 deaths

COVID-19: India logs 30,256 new cases


Woman Denied Entry at Delhi Restaurant For Wearing Saree

Monkey came away from 22 kilometer

News Bulletin 22-09-2021

Dead fish found in pitrodi river


Latest Additions

Indian diaspora has distinguished itself across the world: Modi

Warner Bros reveals title of ”Fantastic Beasts 3”, advances release

Vaccine certification for travel must meet ‘minimum criteria’, says UK

Bridgestone bags supply contract for radial tyres from Tata Motors

Sensex rallies over 450 pts in early trade; Nifty tops 17,650

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.