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Critically ill COVID-19 patients have same or stronger immunity as recovered patients, study finds

Critically ill COVID-19 patients have same or stronger immunity as recovered patients, study finds

A weak immune response isn't the cause of severe lung failure in COVID-19 patients, a study has found.

Critically ill COVID-19 patients have same or stronger immunity as recovered patients, study finds

Scientists from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany looked at the antibodies and cells in recovered, seriously ill and deceased COVID-19 patients to identify their immune response.

The study found that severe COVID-19-related lung infections were caused by an overreaction of the immune system, rather than a weakened one.

How the immune system responds to coronavirus

Antibodies and T lymphocytes play an important role in the immune response to viruses.

Antibodies prevent viruses from entering the host cell and flag already infected cells. T lymphocytes can then kill infected cells directly.

The research team looked at the immune responses of COVID-19 patients at several steps.

They found patients with severe COVID-19 lung failure had a similar or even stronger T-cell and antibody response when compared to patients with a mild case of the virus.

“The total number of specific immune cells as well as their functionality was not better in patients who survived Covid-19 than in those who died from it,” says Dr. Ulrik Stervbo, head of laboratory at the Centre for Translational Medicine.

While further study is needed to understand the specific mechanisms of the virus, the researchers say the findings suggest that an excessive immune response plays an important role in COVID-19-related lung failure.

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