As the novel Coronavirus has affected over 31 million people and claimed more than 976,000 lives globally, the healthcare providers are now facing challenge to identify those COVID-19 patients who are at the maximum risk of severe illness or death.
Perhaps more important is that no one, including the researchers studying D614G, thinks this mutation has actually made the virus deadlier or more likely to sicken us, something that seems to get lost in the headlines discussing this research. More than 5,000 coronavirus genomes were analyzed to reach those conclusions.
"We wanted to help find ways to identify high-risk COVID patients as early and as easily as possible-who is likely to become severely ill and may benefit from aggressive interventions, and which hospitalized patients are likely to get worse most quickly", said senior author John M. Higgins, MD, an investigator in the Department of Pathology at MGH and an associate professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).
A subsequent increase in RDW after hospital admission was associated with an even higher risk of dying, the researchers said.
Being male, aged, and having underlying medical circumstances can all elevate sufferers' danger of life-threatening Covid-19.
Normality could return in summer 2021 if vaccine succeeds: UK health minister
Some people in COVID-19 hotspots have complained they can not book a test or are being sent hundreds of miles away to get one. Matt Hancock said that if a second lockdown happened, it would be "different" the the first.
David Morens, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the findings suggest the virus may become more contagious and this "may have implications for our ability to control it". When this happens, their own body prevents an innate immune response. "They also provide a means of identifying individuals at risk of developing life-threatening Covid-19". Both groups are unable to mount effective immune responses that rely on what's called type I interferon. He was to spend 33 days in the hospital, 10 of them on a ventilator.
His 29-year-old brother succumbed to Covid-19 in an intensive care unit in Rotterdam, after being handled for shock and a fever that soared to 44 levels Celsius (111 levels Fahrenheit).
Three other infectious diseases caused by mutations affecting an immune signaling protein can also be caused by auto-antibodies against that protein. But the studies in Science indicate that various forms of interferon dysfunction may underlie as many as one in eight critical patients, and that screening and targeted treatment might prevent severe illnesses and deaths. "Another finding, that 94% of the patients with interferon-attacking antibodies were male, also helps explain why men face higher risk of severe disease".
The more scientists can understand about this pandemic and put it in context with what they understand about other coronaviruses, Long adds, the more able they may be to discover treatments or vaccines that might protect us from not just COVID-19, but also future pandemics.