How COVID-19 Triggers an Autoimmune Reaction

Researchers have hypothesized how a Covid-19 infection may trigger the development of autoimmune diseases through three different mechanisms, which may intersect at different points of the inflammatory process. Various autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, as well as Hashimoto’s and Graves disease.

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COVID-19 Severity and Autoantibody Production

To better characterize the immunopathology of COVID-19, researchers studied the range of autoantibodies triggered by a SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as infection severity. Generally, the autoantibodies in patients with mild COVID-19 only slightly differed compared to healthy controls. Patients with moderate COVID-19 exhibited more elevated autoantibody counts, whereas those with severe COVID-19 were observed to have the highest levels of autoantibodies.

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COVID-19 Risk Factors & Mortality in SLE Patients

“Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is uniquely poised at crossroads between the dysregulated immune system and the risk of viral infections, especially in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.” Researchers in India studied the impact of common SLE immunosuppressive drugs in SLE patents with COVID-19, as well as risk factors associated with COVID-19 in this patient population.

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