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Covid-19 virus harms human immune system: Israeli research

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Jerusalem, Dec 21 (IANS) Israeli researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, harms the human immune system, Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in southern Israel said on Monday.

In a genetic study published in the journal iScience, BGU researchers tried to find out what causes the “stormy” nature of Covid-19, which is also manifested in an extreme reaction of the immune system, Xinhua news agency reported.

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For this purpose, they analyzed for a year, using computational biology, gene expression in patients from around the world.

The team examined whether mitochondria, cell organs that produce energy, are damaged during Covid-19 illness, resulting in dysfunction of the body.

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Surprisingly, the researchers identified damage to the mitochondria of immune system cells, rather than to lung cells’ mitochondria.

The mitochondrial damage in immune cells explains the “cytokine storm” phenomenon, which is a reaction of the immune system, appearing with symptoms such as fever, swelling and extreme fatigue, the researchers said.

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“Based on the results, it is possible to use existing treatments to target mitochondria and thus improve patients’ condition,” they concluded.

–IANS

int/shs

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