Using data from the Human Cell Atlas, researchers have identified the differences in immune cells’ response in those who had no symptoms compared to severe symptoms.
The largest study of its type in the UK has identified differences in the immune response to COVID-19, between people with no symptoms, compared to those suffering a more serious reaction to the virus.
Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle University, University College London, University of Cambridge, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and their collaborators within the Human Cell Atlas initiative, found raised levels of specific immune cells in asymptomatic people. They also showed people with more serious symptoms had lost these protective cell types, but gained inflammatory cells. These differences in the immune response could help explain serious lung inflammation and blood clotting symptoms, and could be used to identify potential targets for developing therapies.
The research, published in Nature Medicine, is one of the only studies to include people who were asymptomatic. This large-scale collaborative study is part of the Human Cell Atlas* initiative to map every cell type in the human body, to transform our understanding of health, infection and disease.
Release date: 20 April 2021
Source: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute