An analysis of blood samples from COVID-19 patients has found that patients with elevated levels of a marker for T cells activity went on to develop only mild symptoms. The study, led by Professor Tao Dong (Radcliffe Department of Medicine) found that patients with lower levels of this marker had more severe symptoms.
T cells are a core part of the body’s adaptive immune response, producing a tailored response to specific antigens. Measuring key biomarkers when patients first get ill might not only predict who will go on to develop mild versus severe illness, but interventions to change these markers might also help prevent severe illness.
Professor Dong, who is also the co-director of the Oxford University’s, Chinese Academy of Medical Science’s Oxford Institute, analysed data from 71 COVID-19 positive patients hospitalised at Beijing’s You’an Hospital in January and March this year. 53 of the patients turned out to have a mild illness, while 18 had more serious symptoms.