COVID-19 Asymptomatic Individuals Found To Have Higher Levels Of Lymphocytes Suggesting Crucial Role Of CD4 Cells According To New Study
A new study led by scientist from Wuhan-China with support from National Institutes of Health, Bethesda-Maryland, have discovered that most COVID-19 asymptomatic individuals tend to have higher levels of lymphocytes especially CD4+ Cells indicating that these T Cells play a crucial role in the COVID-19 disease.
The research findings were published in the journal: mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00922-20
To date almost 1.1 million people have died and more than 38.4 million have been diagnosed as having contracted the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but a large fraction of individuals infected with the novel coronavirus ie about 45%, according to recent estimates, show no symptoms at all or are what is known as asymptomatic.
A recent Chinese study of 52 COVID-19 patients may help researchers better understand why not everyone shows symptoms of the disease.
The researchers found that asymptomatic patients hosted viral loads comparable to those of symptomatic patients, but asymptomatic patients showed higher levels of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell responsible for immune responses), cleared the viral particles faster, and had lower risks of long-term complications.
Further detailed analyses suggested the interaction between the novel coronavirus and the immune system likely played a role in that process.
Leading Chinese virologist Professor Dr Yuchen Xia, Ph.D., at Wuhan University's School of Basic Medical Sciences, in China, who worked on the new study told Thailand Medical News, "Our findings suggested an important role for lymphocytes, especially T cells, in controlling virus shedding."
To date the wide range of COVID-19 symptoms is well documented.
On the other hand, asymptomatic carriers often go undiagnosed but can still shed the virus and spread it to others.
Proper understanding as to why some patients get sick and others don't is one of the most important challenges in curbing the pandemic.
Dr Xia added, "They may cause a greater risk of virus transmission than symptomatic patients, posing a major challenge to infection control."
Dr Xia and his colleagues studied throat swabs and blood samples collected from patients at Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, including 27 who had been admitted for complications related to COVID-19 and 25 asymptomatic patients who had been admitted for other reasons but tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon arrival.
The study team used the throat swabs to assess viral load, and on the blood samples they ran tests to measure immunoglobins, cytokines, and immune
Despite both groups of patients had comparable viral loads, asymptomatic patients showed a statistically significant increase in number of CD4+ cells, white blood cells that fight infection, compared to symptomatic patients.
Similar to previous studies, the new
analysis also showed that symptomatic patients were more likely to show impaired liver function than asymptomatic patients. In contrast to other work, however, the new research did not find significant differences in cytokine levels between the two groups.
Dr Xia's group recently began collaborating on a larger follow-up study with researchers in Germany, analyzing blood samples from more than 100 patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms and 30 patients with mild symptoms. They also plan to conduct animal studies to better understand the role of T cells in viral shedding.
Dr Xia said he hopes this study will bring attention to the importance of including transmission from asymptomatic people in widespread efforts to curb the pandemic.
He added, "More public health interventions and a broader range of testing may be necessary to control COVID-19.”
For more about COVID-19 Asymptomatic
cases, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.