Abnormalities in T cells lead to pneumonia in Covid-19 patients: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 22, 2020

A new study revealed that abnormalities in the immune system’s T cells are associated with pneumonia seen in Covid-19 patients.

The researchers of the study further claimed that the findings may lead to the prevention of severe lung infection caused by the novel coronavirus.

According to the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, severe Covid-19 patients experience an immune system overreaction. When this happens, the number of T cells, which are responsible for triggering immune responses, significantly reduces in the blood.

The researchers explained in their study that T cells regulate the activity of the immune system by recognising specific viruses. They also play an essential role in the eradication of pathogens and the acquisition of immunity.

For this study, the researchers examined T cells to determine the causes of severe pneumonia in Covid-19.

The researchers mentioned that when some CD4+ T cells become highly activated, they become regulatory T cells which then act as brakes to inhibit T cell responses.

The authors of the study examined genetic data from bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from the lungs of patients with Covid-19 from Wuhan, China to characterize the activity and genetic characteristics of the CD4+ T cells present.

They found that while T cells were functional in the lungs of patients with severe pneumonia. However, the function of braking was not working.

The researchers stated that one of the most important brakes was not functioning in severe Covid-19 which may have led to pneumonia.

“This study has clarified the association between severe pneumonia and T cell abnormalities. We expect that these findings will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of severe pneumonia in patients with Covid-19,” said study co-author Masahiro Ono from Kumamoto University.

Published on November 22, 2020

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