Scientists from Yale University have found that some COVID19 patients have high levels of antibodies, which start attacking organs and tissues in the body rather than latching on to the virus. They have said that COVID19 infection triggers the immune system of the body to produce an immune response, which starts attacking the body of the patients instead of the virus. This might explain why some patients continue to suffer from a range of symptoms of COVID19 even after they are recovered. The study has not been peer-reviewed yet. The senior author of the study Aaron Ring has said that COVID19 patients start producing autoantibodies, which hold back the immune response against the virus. He has said that the process can seriously affect the brain, blood vessels, and liver. These areas are most affected in patients who suffer from symptoms of long COVID.
In Long COVID, patients, who have been once infected with the virus and have been recovered from the disease, continue to deal with prolonged illness, fatigue, and shortness of breath caused by the virus. Aaron Ring has worked with immunologists from Yale University to observe the patients who have been dealing with severe symptoms of the disease. He has compared this data with hospital workers, who have not been infected with the virus. Experts have been looking for antibodies of the immune system, which function by targeting any of the 3000 proteins in the body. On the other hand, normal antibodies attack the virus and prevent them from spreading in other body parts. Autoantibodies latch on to human proteins or the proteins which have been produced by them. Experts have seen a drastic increase in autoantibody reactivities in patients who have been dealing with long COVID as compared to hospital workers who have not been ill.
Experts have found that some autoantibodies have been prevalent in patients before they have been infected with the disease. Moreover, other autoantibodies have been produced by the immune system after the virus has taken the hold of the body. The study has shown that more than five percent of patients who have been hospitalized have been identified with these deadly autoantibodies. The authors of the study have said that the more autoantibodies have been found, the more severe symptoms have become. The lead author Aaron Ring has said that the damaging effect of these autoantibodies can continue even after the virus is no more causing any damage. This negative immune response can be very dangerous for patients who have been diagnosed with COVID19. It can remain in the body for a long time; therefore, it might contribute to long COVID. In such a condition, immunosuppressive treatments might help treat patients with long COVID. These treatments are used in rheumatological ailments. As per the data, Long COVID affects nearly 10 percent of patients in the age group of 18 to 49 years, who have been diagnosed with COVID19. Around 20 percent of patients with COVID19 in the age group of 70 and above are affected by long COVID.