The differing immune system responses of patients with COVID-19 can help predict who will experience moderate and severe consequences of disease, according to a new study by Yale researchers published July 27 in the journal Nature.
The findings may help identify individuals at high risk of severe illness early in their hospitalization and suggest drugs to treat COVID-19.
Researchers examined 113 patients admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital, and analyzed the varying immune system responses they exhibited during their hospital stay, from admittance to discharge or death. They found that all patients shared a common COVID-19 “signature” in immune system activity early in the course of disease. But those who experienced only moderate symptoms exhibited diminishing immune system responses and viral load over time. Patients who went on to develop severe cases of the disease showed no decrease in viral load or immune system reaction, and many of the immune signals in these patients accelerated.
But even in the early course of treatment, researchers found indicators that predicted which patients were at greatest risk of developing severe forms of the illness.
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