Corona: why some people get seriously ill with COVID-19
Many people develop no symptoms or only mild symptoms when they contract the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Other infected people, on the other hand, fall seriously ill COVID-19[feminine]. As researchers now report, some Genoa and protein to a superior risk for a heavy disease progression to contribute.
Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health in Charité (BIH), together with colleagues from Britain and Canada, have discovered genes and proteins that contribute to a higher risk of developing severe disease due to to COVID-19. Their results were published in the journal “Nature Communication‘ (PDF) published.
Predisposition to a severe evolution?
Experts around the world are puzzled as to why some people become seriously ill and others only mildly ill with COVID-19 when infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In addition to older age and male sex than risk factors they also suspect a certain predisposition to a severe course of the disease.
as Doctor Maik Pietzner, scientist at the BIH Center for Digital Health in the Department of Computational Medicine, in a Message explained, we observe, for example, “that susceptibility to infection depends on blood type, which is hereditary. It was therefore obvious that the course of the disease is at least partly genetic.
BIH scientists had access to genetic data that the researchers had collected from COVID-19 patients around the world. It has also been documented how this Diseases took place in patients.
“Our inheritance contains rare and frequent changes to its alphabetic code, the vast majority of which are inconsequential, but there are approximately 17 areas that have been linked to a higher risk of severe illness for COVID-19. However, the underlying mechanism has often been completely unclear until now.”according to Pietzner.
A total of eight proteins of interest identified
Researchers in the Department of Computational Medicine at BIH had already developed a method to find out exactly what visible sections of DNA actually do. They used this method in the present study and came across a total of eight interesting proteins.
According to Professor Claudia Langenberg, head of the department of computational medicine, one of them was a protein responsible for the blood group responsible for. “You already knew this and it only contributes to the risk of infection and not to severe developments”according to the researcher.
“The ELF5 protein was much more relevant. COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized and ventilated, or possibly even died, were much more likely to have a change in their heart rate embarrassed, the plan of ELF5. That’s why we took a closer look.”
The team reached out to colleagues in the smart imaging department, also at BIH’s Digital Health Center. Single cell analysis expert Lorenz Chua, a doctoral student in the department and second first author of the publication alongside Pietzner, researched in which cells the protein ELF5 is particularly common.
“We saw that ELF5 It occurs in all superficial cells of the skin or mucous membranes, but is particularly formed in the lungs. Since the virus mainly causes damage in the lungs, this seemed very plausible to us. »
the HopeHowever, Professor Christian Conrad, head of the intelligent imaging department, tempers the idea that a new target, ie a target molecule for drugs, could have been found here.
“ELF5 is a so-called transcription factor. It controls how often or how often other genes are turned on and off throughout the body. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine intervening here, as it would certainly have many unwanted side effects.
Proteins play an important role
However, the researchers found another interesting candidate among the eight suspects: Das G-CSF protein serves as a growth factor in the blood system.
COVID-19 patients who genetically produced more G-CSF developed less severe disease. Synthetic G-CSF has been around for a long time medicationone could possibly speculate about an application in people with COVID-19.
But even if the transfer of such genetic results to the clinic is still a long way off, Claudia Langenberg points out that the discovery is nevertheless great sense A. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
- Berlin Institute of Health in the Charité (BIH): Why does someone become seriously ill with COVID-19, (accessed August 16, 2022), Berlin Health Institute in Charité (BIH)
- Maik Pietzner, Robert Lorenz Chua, ……Christian Conrad, Claudia Langenberg: ELF5 is a potential respiratory epithelial cell-specific risk gene for severe COVID-19; in: Nature Communications (PDF), (published: 08/15/2022), Nature Communication
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.
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