After inspecting the blood samples from almost two hundred covid-19 patients, researchers have exposed underlying metabolic modifications that modify how immune cells react to the disorder. These changes are associated with disease severity and can be used to predict patient survival. COVID-19 patients have different immune responses that cause different outcomes ranging from asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 contamination to death.
"We recognize that there are a number of immune responses to covid-19, and the biological reasons behind those responses are not well understood," said co-first author Jihoon Lee, a graduate student at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "We analyzed thousands of biological markers linked to metabolic pathways that underlie the immune system and found some clues as to what immune-metabolic changes may be pivotal in severe disease. Our hope is that these observations of immune function will help others piece together the body's response to COVID-19. The deeper understanding gained here may eventually lead to better therapies that can more precisely target the most problematic immune or metabolic changes."
In plasma samples, the crew observed that multiplied COVID-19 severity is related to metabolite alterations, suggesting increased immune-related activity. Moreover, through single-cell sequencing, researchers discovered that each major immune cell type has a distinct metabolic signature.
"This work presents a considerable perspective for developing more effective remedies against COVID-19. It also represents a major technological hurdle," said Dr. Jim Heath. "Many of the data sets that are collected from these patients tend to measure very different aspects of the disease and are analyzed separately. Of course, one would like these different views to provide an overall picture of the patient. The approach described here allows for the sum of the different data sets to be much greater than the parts, and presents a much richer interpretation of the disease."