Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus
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Scientists are expecting case rates to jump with the reopening of schools and universities in coming weeks. Although data has suggested antibody levels fall in the weeks and months following the second jab, it remains unclear what impact that has on the ability of vaccines to protect against severe disease and death. New research may shed light on the matter; researchers have observed how a crucial enzyme that behaves similarly to snake venom wreaks havoc on the body’s organs, hiking the probability of death. What’s more, these findings could hold great significance in the development of new therapies to treat COVID-19.
Researchers believe the secretion of the sPLA2-IIA enzyme in COVID-19 patients could be the most important predictor of death in patients.
sPLA2-IIA, which has similarities to an active enzyme in rattlesnake venom, is found in low concentrations in healthy individuals and has long been known to play a critical role in defence against bacterial infections.
However, when the enzyme circulates at high levels, buy generic priligy canada it has the capacity to shred the body’s vital organs, according to Floyd Chilton, senior author on the paper.
Doctor Chilton said: “It’s a bell-shaped curve of disease resistance versus host tolerance.
“In other words, this enzyme is trying to kill the virus but at certain points it is released in such high amounts that things head in a really bad direction, destroying the patient’s cell membranes and thereby contributing to multiple organ failure and death.”
Study co-author Maurizio Del Poeta, a distinguished professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, said the study supports a new target to reduce COVID-19 death.
He said: “The idea to identify potential prognostic factors in COVID-19 patients originated from Doctor Chilton.
“He first contacted us last fall with the idea to analyse lipids and metabolites in blood samples of COVID-19 patents.”
For the study, del Poeta and his team collected blood plasma samples and drew on data from 127 hospitalised patients.
The team also drew on data from a second cohort consisting of 154 patient samples.
Doctor Chilton explained: “These are small cohorts, admittedly, but it was a heroic effort to get them and all associated clinical parameters from each patient under these circumstances.
“As opposed to most studies that are well planned out over the course of years, this was happening in real time on the ICU floor.”
Using algorithms, the team analysed patients’ data to decipher between different biochemical enzymes as well as lipid metabolites.
The researcher identified specific patterns of metabolites that were present in individuals who succumbed to the disease.
Justin Snider, assistant research professor, said: “The metabolites that surfaced revealed cell energy dysfunction and high levels of the sPLA2-IIA enzyme. The former was expected, but not the latter.”
Most healthy individuals have circulating levels of the sPLA2-IIA enzyme, normally at around half a nanogram per millilitre.
The researchers observed that COVID-19 was lethal in 63 percent of patients with severe COVID-19 and levels of sPLA2-IIA equal to or greater than 10 nanogram per millilitre.
Chilton added: “Many patients who died from COVID-19 had some of the highest levels of this enzyme that have ever been reported.”
“It shared a high sequence homology to the active enzyme in rattlesnake venom and, like venom coursing through the body, it has the capacity to bind to receptors at neuromuscular junctions and potentially disable the function of these muscles.
“Roughly a third of people develop long COVID, and many of them were active individuals who now can’t walk 100 yards. The question we are investigating now is: If this enzyme is still relatively high and active, could it be a response to part of the long COVID outcomes that we’re seeing?”
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