The condition appears to be linked to some autoantibodies that are produced in the weeks following infection and that can interfere with the regulation of the immune system, causing inflammation and persistent symptoms.
There may be behind the symptoms of Long Covid a type of autoantibody capable of interfering with the regulation of the immune system.
This is what emerges from a new study published in the journal Plos One by a research team of the University of Arkansas that detected the production of a specific immunoglobulin in the weeks following the infection and able “to attack and destroy a key regulator of the immune systemSaid John Arthur, lead author of the research at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology. According to scholars, the action of this autoantibody would induce a cascade of events that would be at the basis of the inflammation and persistence of post-Covid symptoms.
The antibody in question, which the researchers detected in almost all patients hospitalized for Covid-19, targets a cellular enzyme widely involved during coronavirus infection, called ACE2. When plasma samples containing this autoantibody were tested in the laboratory, the researchers observed its ability to inhibit the enzymatic activity of ACE2, suggesting the resulting overactivation of immune proteins and inflammation.
The vaccine also protects you from the risk of Long Covid
If this hypothesis is confirmed, this autoantibody would be a promising target for the development of a specific pharmacological treatment for Long Covid, that is, capable of preventing the molecular mechanisms underlying the condition from determining the manifestation of persistent symptoms in those recovered from the infection.
“Everything we have observed is consistent with the thesis that this autoantibody is the promoter of Long Covid – Professor Arthur added -. If in further studies we can prove that this hypothesis is correct, i.e. that this interference with ACE2 activity really causes Long Covid, then it will open the way for many potential treatments.”.