Research findings published in Frontiers in Immunology reveal that people who had severe Covid-19 symptoms are highly likely to suffer long-term adverse effects on their immune system. This article presents this important finding about Covid and immune system.
What is the human immune system? The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs in the human body that plays a crucial role in defending against harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other foreign invaders. Its primary function is to identify and eliminate these foreign substances while distinguishing them from the body’s own healthy cells and tissues.
The stated finding is the result of research undertaken by a team of researchers at Linkoping University. They found that the immune cells of covid-19 patients have been found to still be affected up to 8 months after the Covid infection.
Francis Hopkins, a postdoc in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Science at Linkoping University, said: “Obviously the immune system is affected pretty badly when people are in the hospital sick with Covid-19, but we had not anticipated that the effects would persist as long as seven to eight months.”
The research team studied 46 patients who had experienced severe Covid-19 symptoms. These samples were analyzed against a control group of 31 healthy people.
Researchers collected and analyzed the blood samples from the patients under study when they were first admitted to the hospital. Further samples were taken after 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 6 to 8 months later. They focused their study on the properties of the virus-specific T-cells and also studied whether Covid-19 had any general effect on all T-cells.
The research team found that some of the T-cells are still activated long after the Covid-19 infection. But other T-cells are fatigued and cannot function normally. “We see similar effects on patients with a chronic HIV infection. The question is why are these effects still present after so long?” asked Professor Larsson of the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at Linkoping University.