London – A team of researchers has identified a protein that could critically contribute to severe forms of Covid-19.
The research, published in the journal Current Issues in Molecular Biology, found that infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2 leads to increased levels of a protein called CD47 on the cell surface.
CD47 is a so-called “don’t eat me” signal to the immune system’s defenses that protect cells from destruction.
The virus-induced CD47 on the surface of infected cells is likely to protect them from recognition by the immune system, allowing the production of larger amounts of virus, leading to more serious disease.
“We may have identified a major factor associated with severe Covid-19. This is a big step in the fight against the disease and we can now expect further progress in the design of treatments, ”said researcher Martin Michaelis of the University of Kent.
Well-known risk factors for severe Covid-19 such as advanced age and diabetes are associated with higher CD47 levels.
High CD47 levels also contribute to high blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for complications from COVID-19 such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease.
Data suggests that the high CD47 levels induced by age and the virus contribute to severe Covid-19 by preventing an effective immune response and increasing tissue and organ damage associated with the disease.
Since therapies targeting CD47 are in development, this finding could lead to improved Covid-19 therapies.
A new potential factor contributing to the severity of Covid-19 identified
SourceA new potential factor contributing to the severity of Covid-19 identified