A University of Birmingham-led study funded by the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium has found that many patients with COVID-19 produce immune responses against their body’s own tissues or organs.
COVID-19 has been associated with a variety of unexpected symptoms, both at the time of infection and for many months afterwards. It is not fully understood what causes these symptoms, but one of the possibilities is that COVID-19 is triggering an autoimmune process where the immune system is misdirected to attack itself.
The study, published today in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology, investigated the frequency and types of common autoantibodies produced in 84 individuals who either had severe COVID-19 at the time of testing or in the recovery period following both severe COVID-19 and those with milder disease that did not need to attend hospital.
These results were compared to a control group of 32 patients who were in intensive care for another reason other than COVID-19.