The COVID-19 coronavirus affects the energy sector of human cells, but the primary damage occurs not in the lungs, but in the cells of the immune system.
This is the conclusion of Israeli scientists from University named after Ben-Gurion in a study published in iScience.
“ As you know, patients with severe coronavirus have difficulty breathing, which often requires hospitalization and the use of ventilators. Researchers at the University. Ben-Gurion tried to determine the reason for such a rapid development of the coronavirus, which is also manifested in the so-called “ cytokine storm '', which the virus causes in the immune system. Using a method based on computational biology, researchers analyzed gene expression in the genetic system of patients from all over the world for a year '', & ndash; reported by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Head of the University Center for Evolutionary Genomics and Medicine at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University. Ben-Gurion and President of the Society of Geneticists of Israel, Professor Dan Mishmar studies mitochondria & ndash; ancient organelles that generate energy and signals in cells. His team decided to test whether mitochondria were damaged during COVID-19.
The answer was yes, but it turned out that this damage was not in the cells of the lungs, but in the cells of the immune system. The immune system releases excessive amounts of its signaling molecules & ndash; cytokines & ndash; which leads to a “ cytokine storm '', which is life-threatening for the patient.
“We hypothesized that since the cytokine storm is an integral part of the disease and leads to its serious deterioration, and mitochondria are a key factor transmission of intracellular signals, then the damage to mitochondrial functions in COVID-19 will not be limited to the lungs, but will also be found in the immune system, '' the professor noted.
Now that new results have been obtained and confirmed, medicine will be able to offer for patients with COVID-19, mitochondria-related treatment and thus expand the therapeutic options for fighting the pandemic.