Covid 19Health Trends

The Role of Immune Cells in COVID-19 Deaths

In the wake of the growing coronavirus pandemic and as the death toll from the virus continues to rise, a group of research organizations, called the NETwork are investigating the role of our body’s immune cells in severe cases of COVID-19.

The NETwork, which includes the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, found that severe cases of COVID-19, characterized by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), mucus plugs in the airway, and extensive lung inflammation and damage may be caused by overreactive white blood cells called neutrophils.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine revealed that the Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NET) produced by these cells to attack and eliminate the invading pathogen, may also damage the lungs when in excess, which typifies severe cases of COVID-19. Damage caused by the NETs to the lungs results in the severe symptoms of the infection including breathlessness, chest pain, and the need for mechanical ventilation.

This study offers hope for therapeutic possibilities for COVID-19. Understanding this mechanism may help researchers develop drugs that inhibit the function of NETs, potentially resolving COVID-19.

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