NHLBI IN THE PRESS

Patterns of immune response distinguish worst COVID-19 cases

Researchers funded by NHLBI found that how quickly patients recover from COVID-19, as well as how severely ill they get appear linked to fundamental differences in individuals’ immune system responses to the virus. 

In a study published in Science, the researchers discovered three different profiles of immune responses to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and identified and defined specific immune signatures that distinguish severe cases of the disease. 

The authors suggest the immune dysregulation they observed in severe COVID-19 patients “may necessitate targeted strategies to effectively manage clinical care” for this group. 

Studies have not determined if critically ill COVID-19 patients shared a common profile of immune dysfunction. But researchers hope the understanding of the immunological characteristics that correspond to a response pattern will help identify it earlier, and tailor treatments to individuals. In that case, there might be an opportunity to change the trajectory of the illness.