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Research Provides Key Insight Into Severe COVID-19 Illness
While advanced age and comorbidities are well-known risk factors for severe illness caused by COVID-19, it was still not understood why some people became gravely ill, whereas other patients of similar backgrounds recovered quickly. Research published in Science indicates that otherwise healthy patients who become seriously ill from COVID-19 may have malfunctioning immune systems. The study looked at 1,000 patients and found that 10% were host to antibodies that attacked interferons—important immune system proteins. These autoantibodies were discovered only in patients with severe pneumonia; they were not present in those with mild illness or those who remained asymptomatic. The study authors surmise that these autoantibodies were always present but that infection with the novel coronavirus spurred them into activity. This immune system malfunction was significantly more common among male COVID-19 patients than female patients. Read more here.