Off-target immune response could predict #COVID-19 severity
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the study detected the autoimmune antibodies in the blood of more than a third of men and women on admission to hospital and confirmed to have the disease.
Among the new study findings is that a subset of these autoimmune antibodies that bind to DNA or to a particular type of fat molecule, a lipid called #phosphatidylserine, [known to spill into the bloodstream as cells are killed by disease, such as COVID-19] were more often twice as abundant at the start of coronavirus infection in those whose conditions worsened quickly than in those whose health did not decline. Patients with these elevated levels of autoimmune antibodies were five to seven times more likely to develop severe disease than those whose antibodies levels were stable.
If found to be causal of cell damage, new COVID-19 treatments could include antibody injections from healthy donors to dilute the presence of autoimmune antibodies. Other experimental therapies under consideration involve biodegradable antigens that attach to autoimmune antibodies and neutralize them, but do not lead to a lasting antibody immune reaction of their own.
Claudia Gomes et al, Autoimmune anti-DNA and anti-phosphatidylserine antibodies predict development of severe COVID-19, Life Science Alliance (2021).