COVID-19 Associated Autoimmunity is a Feature of the Severe Respiratory Syndrome

There is marked immune dysregulation associated with COVID19. Evidence-based studies have been conducted which show clinical and serological features for COVID19 suggesting similarities with the autoimmune conditions. A Bayesian approach was followed in which the statistical analysis provides research-based evidence of unknown parameters on probability.

A study published on a pre-print server included patients having respiratory distress admitted to the ICU or medico-surgical units. Patients were divided into COVID +ve and COVID -ve based on SARS-Co-V-2 PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs. No COVID19 specific interventions were given. Patients were followed for 3 months when they were in hospital or until hospital discharge. Further PCR tests were conducted to confirm the negativity. The results showed 22 COVID +ve and 22 COVID -ve were detected based on the RT-PCR test. The demographics were 69% of males with a median age of 60 years.

To check the COVID19 associated autoimmunity, the autoantibody and serological assays were performed as diagnostic tests. It was noted that 64% of patients had anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), 38% had anti-specific autoantibodies and 38% has high levels of anti-cytokines autoantibodies. There was no statistical difference between the COVID +ve and COVID -ve groups for any autoantibodies parameters. The features of both groups suggested that autoantibodies are a feature of critical illness regardless of COVID status. This presence of autoantibodies has led to the conclusion that severe respiratory syndrome is linked with autoimmunity where the own immune system mistakenly attacks its respiratory epithelium and marks immune dysregulation as well. 

Ref Link: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.17.21251953