How the Immune System Might be Killing Those With Covid-19


JJ Brough

A recent scientific breakthrough has given us a better idea of what is causing deaths in those who contract Covid-19. This will bring us ever closer to finding some type of preventative, more information, or a complete vaccine.

People who have severe cases of COVID-19 are found to have a elevated amount of cytokines as compared to healthy people, thus leading to a cytokine storm in our body. A cytokine storm is a reaction within our immune systems that causes molecules to release in massive quantities, causing organ failure, and by extension, death.

This can be caused by many viruses, but of course, most notably, the infamous Covid-19. This is most likely not the only way this virus kills us, however, it brings us ever closer to finding a cure, since we know one of the reactions that is causing the deaths in people who contract Covid-19.

Thirumala-Devi Kenneganti of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital selected eight cytokines that were seen in COVID-19 patients. The cells growing alone caused no harm to the immune system, however, when all eight are together, cell death was elevated, it was deadly. They found that the combination of TNF alpha and gamma interferon was deadly to the macrophages they tested on. Additionally, this combination of two chemicals could kill mice within 10 hours. This form of cell death, Apoptosis, also happened alongside pyroptosis and necroptosis. Those two combined cause a deadly cytokine storm, as previously stated.

This information gives us ever growing hope that soon, we can find a way to, at the very least, prevent death in those who are infected. Better yet, its hoped that this will lead to findings that will help us develop a way to prevent the virus in its entirety, all we can do now is hope that when that cure does come out, everyone takes it so it cuts the virus off entirely.