Scientists in the UK will begin testing a treatment that they say may counteract the effects of “Covid-19” in patients with very serious conditions.
Scientists have found that those with the most severe types of the disease have small numbers of immune cells known as T cells.
The clinical trial will determine whether the drug called Interleukin 7, which is believed to increase the number of T cells, will improve recovery for patients.
The experiments include scientists from the Francis Crick Institute, King’s College College in London, Jay Hospital and St. Thomas.
Scientists believe that examining patients for immune problems upon admission to hospital can help clinicians determine who is most at risk of deterioration.
They looked at 60 immune cells of a “Covid-19” patient in the blood, and found a clear breakdown of the T cell number.
In their study, the team also found that patients who are worse off have a problem with a specific type of T cell that usually kills virus-infected cells. They also have a much smaller number of immune cells that can participate in tissue repair, called basal cells.
It is noteworthy that the virus distorts the immune response in patients with severe conditions, and removes one of the most important natural defenses of the body.
Adrian Hayday, who runs the Crick’s Immunosurveillance Laboratory, said the changes they had seen in the blood were “not accurate”. He added that patients with these features seem more likely to develop severe disease, which requires extensive management.
“It was a big surprise” to see what happens in immune cells, Haiday said in a statement to the BBC. He added: “They are trying to protect us, but it seems that the virus is pulling the rug from under them because their numbers have decreased dramatically.”
This result can be beneficial for researchers who are developing new treatments and vaccines. And if scientists can discover the reasons for the disappearance and malfunction of immune cells, then they can search for a drug to stop them.
The team suggests that supplying patients with recombinant IL-7 or also known as Interleukin 7, which is a natural protein that promotes T cell function, can help solve this problem. The researchers added that there are calls for immediate experiments to see if this treatment is working.
Source: The Telegraph + techtimes