The study shows that there is a probability of developing the wrong antibodies or autoantibodies, which attack the immune system. This probability increases with age and constitutes a risk factor increasing the possibility of developing severe symptoms of covid-19. The work, published in Science Immunology, determines that 20% of patients over 80 years old with severe covid-19 develop antibodies against type I interferon, a group of 17 proteins crucial for the protection of our cells against SARS- CoV-2, which causes the immune system of these most vulnerable patients to have less defense capacity against infection.
In addition to the IIBB-CSIC and the IBV-CSIC, the Hospital Clínic / IDIBAPS and the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona participate in this project. The work is part of the INMUNGEN-CoV2 project of the CSIC, financed by donations received by the CSIC, with the aim of identifying the individual risk of developing serious forms of Covid-19, discovering the molecules involved in it and, from those findings, potential treatments.
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Autoantibodies neutralizing type I IFNs are present in ~4% of uninfected individuals over 70 years old and account for ~20% of COVID-19 deaths: https://immunology.sciencemag.org/content/6/62/eabl4340
Autoantibodies neutralizing type I IFNs are present in ~4% of uninfected individuals over 70 years old and account for ~20% of COVID-19 deaths