Recent reports said, researchers believe that one particular protein in an individual determines the severity of COVID-19 when he contracts the virus.

According to FingerLakes1.com, it seems that individuals who have higher CD47 protein levels present on the infected cells' surface are blocking the immune system from combating the virus.

The problem is that this particular protein signals the immune system not to damage or harm it, and if it is in the way, the immune system cannot get around it.

The work of the protein is to send the immune system a warning sign not to attack healthy cells. Researchers are discovering that more of this protein arises on the surface when the virus is infecting human cells.

ALSO READ: 'Worrying' Mutation Detected in the UK

Science Times - COVID-19 Infection: Research Reveals Specific Protein Potentially Contributing to Severity of the Virus in People
(Photo: Navy Medicine on Wikimedia Commons)
A critical care nurse cares for a patient while working in the COVID-19 ward.


Risk Factors Linked to CD47 Protein

Such a discovery prevents the immune system from recognizing the warning, enabling the virus to duplicate, develop more symptoms, and potentially impair the body.

Risk factors such as old age and diabetes exhibit an association to or connection with CD47; these said individuals have more of that particular protein.

Furthermore, high blood pressure has large amounts of CD47 protein as a contributing factor, which happens to be a risk factor in COVID-19 infections.

Researchers said they are optimistic that they can find a strategy to lessen the severity of the virus's symptoms in most people through this discovery.

Even though many patients infected with COVID-19 will only develop mild symptoms, others are likely to experience severe and even life-threatening reactions.

As of this writing, the virus is already responsible for almost 700,000 fatalities in the United States. These new findings show that the protein CD47 may be playing a vital role in these hundreds of thousands of deaths in the country.

A Trick to the Immune System

As mentioned and, according to the WFLA news site, CD47 is sending out the "do not eat me" signal that stops the defense of the immune system from accidentally destroying healthy cells.

The researchers noted that treatments targeting the said protein are already being developed. Their findings may help in the improvement of such therapeutics' efficacy during this global health crisis.

According to Professor Martin Michaelis, such a finding "is exciting." They may have determined a significant factor linked to severe COVID-19 infection.

This is quite a major step in fighting the disease, and further progress can now be looked forward to in the designs of therapeutics.

Meanwhile, commenting on the study findings published in the Current Issues in Molecular Biology journal, Goethe University-Frankfurt's Professor, Jindrich Cinatl, said, these are additional understandings into the disease "processes underlying COVID-19" may help researchers to design better treatments, as well as appreciation from the essentiality of the breadth of studies being carried out.

Through this possibility, added Cinatl, a major breakthrough has been achieved and demonstrated that the combat against the disease carries on.

About the Protein

An Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine report describes CD47 as a protein found on the surface of various cells in the body. It's signaling circulating immune cells known as macrophages not to eat the said cells.

The body is using the protein to shield cells that need to be protected and help dispose of cells that are either diseased or aged.

For example, red blood cells begin with plenty of CD47 proteins on their cell surface when young but slowly lose CD47 as they age.

At some time, the amount of this protein on the surface of aging red blood cells is inadequate to ward off the macrophages; then, those aged cells are disposed of and destroyed, making way for brand-new red blood cells. In this manner, the supply of fresh blood cells is continuously refilled or stocked up.

Related information about CD47 protein is shown on Stanford Cancer Institute's YouTube channel:

RELATED ARTICLE: COVID-19 Saliva Tests: Potentially More Effective Than Nose-Throat Swabbing

Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.