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You're More Likely to Die From COVID-19 If You Have This in Your Blood

Scientists find a brand new cause of COVID-19 fatalities.
lab assistant holding test tube with blood while standing in

Scientists have been working around the clock to find a cure for the coronavirus—and concurrently, other scientists have been working to determine just how COVID-19 causes death. There's a possible new breakthrough in the latter category, with experts discovering a whole new way the disease could be fatal.

"Dr. Jun Yan, professor of surgery and microbiology and immunology at the University of Louisville, led a team of researchers in the discovery of an important biomarker that predicts a crisis in COVID-19 patients that could lead to death," reports the University. "The study, published online as a preprint, details shifting levels of these neutrophils and other immune cells through repeated blood samples from study participants, correlated with improvement or worsening of the patients' condition. If clinicians could detect a rise in these cells, they may be able to provide therapy to prevent the potential life-threatening conditions associated with them."

You Could Have a Clinical Marker

"Based on this study, we believe that the low-density inflammatory band neutrophil population contributes to COVID-19-associated coagulopathy (CAC) and could be used as a clinical marker to monitor disease status and progression," Yan said. "Identifying patients who are trending toward a cellular crisis and then implementing early, appropriate treatment could improve mortality rates for severe COVID-19 patients."

The goal of the research was to understand why so many folks with sever complications have trouble fighting the coronavirus. "An estimated 20 percent of COVID-19 patients experience severe disease. Some of these patients may experience the rapid influx of the immune cells to the lungs to fight the infection. As a result, they may cause inflammation and coagulation disorders, resulting in pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be potentially fatal," reports the journal News Medical Life Sciences. "The team aimed to better understand the serious complications tied to COVID-19. To arrive at their findings, they evaluated the levels of many immune cells in blood samples from COVID-19 patients. They compared the levels to the blood samples taken from healthy people."

A Specific Type of Immune Cell Becomes Elevated

"Based on the findings," continues News Medical Life Sciences, "published in the preprint journal MedRxiv, the team has found that a specific type of immune cell, the low-density inflammatory neutrophils, became highly elevated in some patients who became severely-ill due to the novel coronavirus. The elevated levels of the immune cells have signaled a status of crisis, and a heightened risk of death within a few days."

It's important to note the study has yet to be peer-reviewed but may offer a window into how exactly the virus destroys cells. As for yourself: Wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing, wear a face covering and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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