According to a new study at Johns Hopkins Medicine, blocking the effect of a certain protein may prevent inflammatory reactions triggered by the overactive immune responses in Covid-19 patients.

The study, published in the journal Blood, said that a protein called Factor D — a serine protease that stimulates glucose transport for triglyceride accumulation in fats cells and inhibits lipolysis — should be blocked.

The researchers noted that there may already be drugs in development for other diseases that can block this protein.

The researchers explained that when SARS-CoV-2 attacks the ACE2 receptors to proliferate and infect more cells in the human body, it also prevents Factor H from using the sugar molecule to bind with cells.

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Factor H’s main function is to regulate the chemical signals that trigger inflammation and keep the immune system from harming healthy cells.

However, due to the SARS-CoV-2 attack, these healthy cells get exposed to overactive immune responses without Factor H regulation, which, in turn, destroys cells in the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs.

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The authors wrote: “We found that by blocking another complement protein known as Factor D, which works immediately upstream in the pathway from Factor H, they were able to stop the destructive chain of events triggered by SARS-CoV-2.”