Varieties of studies have been done by scientists with a clear mind to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In search of some medicines, they gazed at the patient’s immune response to the virus. They found that anti-bacterial T cells called MAIT cells are stimulated when the patient suffers from a moderate or severe form of the disease.
We have already seen the MAIT (mucosa-associated invariant T cells) cells, which accounts for 1 to 5 percent of T cells in the blood. They are meant for producing an innate immune response, especially against bacteria but also help in fighting viral infection if the immune system sends signals.
Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden wanted to know what role did the MAIT cells play in aiding the pathogenesis of the virus. They analyzed the blood of 24 patients who had severely affected with the virus and compared with 14 healthy individuals and 45 recovered patients.
They found that the MAIT cells were significantly low in the blood of severe COVID-19 patients, and the cells in circulation were highly activated. This shows that these cells are effective in producing immune responses against SARS-CoV-2. In addition to that, there was a stuffing of pro-inflammatory MAIT cells in the airway of severely affected persons but not the healthy ones. Therefore, we can assume that the reduced number of MAIT cells in the blood might be due to more accumulation in the trachea.
When we observe the blood of convalescent patients, the MAIT cells appear in the blood after a week of infection. Also, the person who died of the disease had more MAIT cells in the airway with the least expression of receptor CXCR3.
In a nutshell, we can say that the anti-bacterial T cells are taken from the blood by inflammatory signals where they strongly produce an innate immune response against the virus. Overactivation of MAIT cells in some people can provoke inflammation, which leads to severe damage to the individual.
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