We’re still learning about COVID-19 and its lasting effects, and we’ll continue to do so for a long time. Researchers at Mount Sinai have been making progress, specifically with the rare, serious after-effect of the virus: multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Nature Communications published this research earlier this week.
About the Research
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been about 2,600 reports of MIS-C, which is a rare and severe effect of COVID-19. It causes pain and fever, alongside inflammation in various organs. Medical professionals have been scrambling to figure out why this rare effect occurs, as current research only suggests an autoimmune disorder.
Using their COVID-19 Biobank, Mount Sinai discovered two types of cells that play a role in COVID-19 and MIS-C: CD8+ T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. When these CD8+ T cells fight off infections or pathogens for too long, they become exhausted and lose some of their abilities. This leads to higher numbers of NK cells and a weakened immune response.
In addition to these findings, the researchers also discovered nine key regulators that are associated with the NK cells and CD8+ T cells’ functionality. One of these regulators is TBX21, which may also be a viable target for treatment. The researchers also believe that circulating these exhausted cells and increasing the number of NK cells could improve patient outcomes as well.
Find the source article here.