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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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4 Comments

4 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. 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?

  3. 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?

  4. 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

Freedom in the UK: Johnson ends ‘all Covid measures’ including mask wearing

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The United Kingdom is enjoying a huge announcement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week” reports The Guardian.

For those with coronavirus, the legal requirement for them to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24. Johnson also announced an immediate end for students to wear masks at secondary schools.

“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.

“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”

The Prime Minister said Covid data was “showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right” and that plan B rules that were put in place in December could all be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.

The Guardian notes Britain had expected Johnson would soon be ending work-from-home guidance and the mandate to show a certificate proving vaccination or proof of a recent negative Covid test. However, the immediate lifting of mandatory mask rules will “come as a surprise to some.”

Johnson is receiving some push back from some teaching and health unions. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers would “regret sending the wrong signal to the public for political expediency”.

Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted said, “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”

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