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Study Using Mice with ‘Humanized Immune Systems’ Help Suggest why COVID-19 Makes some Sicker than Others

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Yale researchers have conducted an experiment on “humanized mice” to try and get insight into why some people experience more severe symptoms than others when contracting the COVID-19 virus. The study found a link between the body’s inflammatory response to infection.

Researchers also found two well-known therapies, monoclonal antibodies and the steroid dexamethasone, can help treat COVID-19. The study was conducted on mice who were “engineered to possess human-like immune systems” states the Yale report published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Researchers posed the question, “why do 80 to 90% of people infected with COVID-19 experience only mild cases while 10 to 20% face more severe or life-threatening symptoms?”

Thus far comparing the virus in humans and laboratory animals “made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint the tipping point between mild and severe cases of COVID-19.” But, the unique use of rodents with humanized immune systems offered this finding to researchers:

“If you infect a standard laboratory mouse with SARS-CoV-2 they will get infected, but not get seriously ill,” said Flavell, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale and senior author of the paper. “But our humanized mice get sick and just don’t get better. Their whole immune system is on fire.”

The research team — which was led by first author Esen Sefik, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellow at the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation — introduced SARS-CoV-2 virus taken from seriously ill human patients into the nasal passages of their humanized mice and then followed the course of the disease.

They found that the infected mice exhibited the same symptoms as severely ill human patients, such as lung damage, weight loss, and a heightened, persistent inflammatory immune response that damages tissues. They then treated the mice with monoclonal antibodies provided by Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University and, like Flavell, an HHMI investigator. These antibodies, which specifically target the virus, were effective if given before or very early after infection but did little to stifle symptoms if administered in later stages of infections, they found.

Conversely, during the early stages of infection the immune suppressant dexamethasone was fatal to mice when it suppressed the initial immune response that was crucial to combat the virus. However, it helped clear infection during later stages of disease by suppressing the inflammatory response that had begun damaging organs.

“Early in the course of the disease, a strong immune response is crucial for survival,” Sefik said. “Later in the disease, it can be fatal.”

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Todd Rogers

    December 28, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    My gosh Sara! Thank you for all your hard work and investigation skills!
    I can’t believe how much these Covid lies are making people just go right along with this! Ugh!

  2. nate

    December 28, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    A perfect lab developed virus. Makes you wonder, if only the fittest are to survive? Recover social security from those deceased, lesson the burden on hospitals due to the weak? Adolph Hitler had a plan to eradicate the weak for the strong, his strong, The Third Reich strong! Is a point in history repeating itself? History has repeated itself when lessons are NOT LEARNED! It was military, dictatorship, government control then?, What would you call it today? Government does like to control? Socialism is control.

  3. schutzhund

    December 29, 2021 at 8:26 am

    What about “pre-disposition” and “pre-existing”?
    When will this be looked at before the disease is introduced?

  4. dfmd

    December 29, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Lab rats are not given a history and physical examination. First they don’t speak English and secondly did you ever try to draw blood from a lab rat? Are you a mouse whisperer?

  5. JusSayin

    January 2, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Sadly, the mice are humanized using livers and thymus from living, pre-aborted, preferably female, humans with a gestational age ranging from 6 to 42 weeks according to the FDA’s contract

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COVID-19

Former Harvard medical professor says he was fired for opposing Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates

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“My hope is that someday, Harvard will find its way back to academic freedom and independence.” That is the heartfelt message from Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former Harvard University professor of medicine since 2003, who recently announced publicly he was fired for “clinging to the truth” in his opposition to Covid lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

Kulldorff posted the news on social media alongside an essay published in the City Journal last week. The epidemiologist and biostatistician also spoke with National Review about the incident. Kulldorff says he was fired by the Harvard-affiliated Mass General Brigham hospital system and put on a leave of absence by Harvard Medical School in November 2021 over his stance on Covid.

Nearly two years later, in October 2023, his leave of absence was terminated as a matter of policy, marking the end of his time at the university. Harvard severed ties with Kulldorff “all on their initiative,” he said.

The history of the medical professional’s public stance on Covid-19 vaccines and mandates is detailed by National Review:

Censorship and rejection led Kulldorff to co-author the Great Barrington Declaration in October 2020 alongside Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University. Together, the three public-health scientists argued for limited and targeted Covid-19 restrictions that “protect the elderly, while letting children and young adults live close to normal lives,” as Kulldorff put it in his essay.

“The declaration made clear that no scientific consensus existed for school closures and many other lockdown measures. In response, though, the attacks intensified—and even grew slanderous,” he wrote, naming former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins as the one who ordered a “devastating published takedown” of the declaration.

Testifying before Congress in January, Collins reaffirmed his previous statements attacking the Great Barrington Declaration.

Despite the coordinated effort against it, the document has over 939,000 signatures in favor of age-based focused protection.

The Great Barrington Declaration’s authors, who advocated the quick reopening of schools, have been vindicated by recent studies that confirm pandemic-era school closures were, in fact, detrimental to student learning. The data show that students from third through eighth grade who spent most of the 2020–21 school year in remote learning fell more than half a grade behind in math scores on average, while those who attended school in person dropped a little over a third of a grade, according to a New York Times review of existing studies. In addition to learning losses, school closures did very little to stop the spread of Covid, studies show.

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